Marcelo played the opening four rounds of the LaLiga Santander season in 2018/19 under Julen Lopetegui, but then didn’t put together four consecutive appearances again until a run between rounds 34 and 38, when he was chosen by Zinedine Zidane.
Injuries and generally poor form saw him slip down the pecking order, with Santiago Solari between the two aforementioned coaches preferring to opt for Sergio Reguilon at left-back.
But, upon his return, Zidane was clear in his support for the Brazilian.
“He’s played very little lately, but he’s done phenomenal things for this club,” the Frenchman explained.
“We always need Marcelo to play well, and we’ll look to him more.
“I love him as a player.”
But even Zidane knows that he’s not perfect, acknowledging that “Marcelo is Marcelo” and accepting that there are some flaws in his game, but that he “likes how he plays”.
Marcelo hasn’t stopped working this summer and his return to something resembling his former form is down to the physical shape he’s in.
Reguilon has moved on and Ferland Mendy has arrived, presenting new competition for his place in the starting XI.
Mendy fell injured, though, meaning the player to have the most minutes this pre-season, with 470, was the Brazilian.
LaLiga Santander will again start with him as first choice, even after rumours linking him with a move to Italy, and he’s evidently happy that Zidane is back on the bench.
“I was very happy with his return,” he admitted.
“I’ve already said a million times that I’d do anything for him.
“He knows what happens in everyone’s head.
“If a player is wrong, he knows how to talk to them and that makes it easier for everyone.”
The summer hasn’t gone to plan for Los Blancos, but Marcelo is one of the few to have performed at a level above what was expected, even if he did gift Tottenham a goal and, as a result, a win.
On the ball, there aren’t many – if any – better in his position, and that remains as true as ever, as was shown against both Arsenal and Roma.
Already with 486 Real Madrid appearances under his belt, he’s closing in on a remarkable 500, but he’s aiming higher.
The Brazilian is desperate to overcome his compatriot and predecessor Roberto Carlos, who has played 41 games more than this current tally.
Under Zidane, Marcelo is likely to hit the target.
The mutual respect is beyond doubt and he is one of the coach’s most trusted players.