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Marcelo: Under-Appreciated In A Team Of Greatness?

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 23: Marcelo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's 7th goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Getafe CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 23, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Who is the left back on the planet? If you were to go by the popular video game FIFA 17 it would tell you that David Alaba of Bayern Munich holds the honour and many people would put Barcelona’s Jordi Alba right at the top of the list.

Yet, during the week Marcelo was voted into the FIFPro World XI for the third time, previously being included in 2015 and 2012.

Alaba and Alba, they’ve been voted into the World XI a combined 0 times and the last out-and-out left back that was voted into the team was Patrice Evra back in 2009 with Phillip Lahm getting the nod twice too.

Marcelo though has never quite gotten the credit he deserves, for someone who has been playing at the very top level for so long he has gone relatively under the radar despite his accolades.

In 2011, Diego Maradona heaped praise on the then 22-year-old.

“Removing [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo], Marcelo is the best player in the league right now.” Quote via Goal.

In the same year Paolo Maldini also held the Brazilian in high regard.

“The rule is: if you cannot get back, you must not go forward. The current best specialist is Marcelo, who gets it right in both areas.” Quote via Goal.

Marcelo came into the club when they needed a left back in 2007 after Roberto Carlos’ contract expired that summer. A fellow Brazilian was a natural heir to the throne but how do you fill the boots of a man who was selected seven times for European Sport Media Team of the Year?

He was only 19 at the time after moving from Fluminense and still had stiff competition from former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze yet Marcelo started the bulk of the games ahead of the Argentinian.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18:  Marcelo (L) of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid CF and Legia Warszawa at Bernabeu on October 18, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Fast forward a year and Marcelo then found himself sitting on the bench behind Heinze under the management of Juande Ramos but was eventually employed as a winger, it was here where he learned his attacking prowess which Maldini complimented.

Marcelo’s career went from strength to strength from there, even when Madrid signed Fábio Coentrão for €30m from Benfica in 2011, the Portuguese left back found it hard to dislodge Marcelo and this led Mourinho to slotting their big money signing into central midfield and right back.

His predecessor Roberto Carlos said this of Marcelo last year:

“Marcelo is the best in the world, making football more real.

“I hope Marcelo is not better than me, but he is doing very well. It is necessary to see, but now he is the best left-sided defender that there is in the world.

“Technically he is better; I was more power and punch.”

And what more can Marcelo do on an individual level? A three-time inclusion in the team of the year as well as being featured in the World Cups’ team of the tournament in 2014, he has been the standout left back for the last decade.

In the era where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are so far above the rest that the standard of being regarded as ‘world class’ is now higher than ever before, Marcelo may be a victim of his circumstance, playing alongside one of the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch means he has not gotten the recognition that he deserves.

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 13:  Marcelo of Real Madrid is pursued by Claudio Marchisio of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Recognition not only in terms of importance for Real Madrid but as an all-time great left back, maybe in reflection after his retirement the public will appreciate that his Madrid side had more than one truly great player. Marcelo should go down alongside Ronaldo in the annals one of the best of all time in his position.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.