Real Madrid star Marcelo has revealed that he was prepared to sign his first contract with the club in his own blood when it was put in front of him. The youngster had believed at the time that he was visiting Spain for a possible trial, but instead he was offered a deal there and then.
Marcelo was only 18 years of age when he officially joined Real. He had top-flight experience in Brazil with Fluminense, but the opportunity to move to the Bernabeu, where he was expected to eventually succeed his own idol Roberto Carlos, was like a dream.
He had travelled to the Spanish capital in November 2006, with his girlfriend, grandfather and best friend in tow. The only other person back home who even knew of the trip was his father.
“I got on the plane to Spain when I was 18, I didn’t know that I was going to sign a contract for real, right then,” he admitted for The Players’ Tribune.
“I thought Real Madrid were bringing me over to take a look at me, maybe do a physical. I came over with my future wife, my grandfather and my best friend. The four of us and a GPS. That’s all we had. The only other person in Brazil who knew where I was going was my father.”
He didn’t want to announce to everyone he knew he was going to Madrid, to play for Real, because who would have believed it? He didn’t believe it himself – “You’re dreaming, brother!”
It was after completing a medical that Marcelo admits he was taken aback when one of the staff told him he would need a suit and tie for the next day. Unsure why, the youngster had to ask and was told at that moment it was for his official unveiling as a Real Madrid player at the Bernabeu.
“When they put the contract in front of me, I signed my name so fast. I would have signed it in my blood, brother,” he said.
That original contract in November 2006 was a five-year deal – “I made it my goal to be here for 10” – and now ‘little Marcelinho from Rio’ has been wearing the famous white kit for 13 years.
Having not even expected any of it, he said, “For me to be the longest-serving foreign player to wear the Real Madrid shirt is more than an honour. It is a fairytale. It is nonsense. It is insane.”
The transfer was fully registered when the January transfer window opened at the start of 2007 and Marcelo made his debut for Real shortly afterwards against Deportivo La Coruna. The following campaign, he played over 30 times in all competitions and has never looked back.
20 trophies, including four Champions League titles, tells its own story.