Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Marcelo: First of the youngbloods

Marcelo after scoring in his debut for Brazil vs. WalesGiven three trophyless years, it is little surprise that Capello has based his current squad around experience rather than youth and energy. There are some concessions (Robinho, Sergio Ramos), but a large number of the starting eleven are fast approaching or on the 'wrong' side of 30. In this first year, he needs results to keep the wolves from the door and the fans happy; it seems the Real Madrid faithful don't have the patience of their Barcelona counterparts, who endured a 5-year dry spell and still (just) managed to have enough patience to give Rijkaard time to rebuild.

However, rumours abound about Real's seeking out the best young talent: Gago, Higuaín, and... Marcelo. This pint-sized eighteen year old left fullback is already touted as Roberto Carlos's successor with the Brazil squad: in his recent debut against Wales he even managed to get on the scoresheet. Other than size, he resembles his more veteran (33) countryman in that he "likes to get forward and join the attack but still has a lot to learn about defending".

The 7 million euro deal with Brazilian club Fluminense ties Marcelo to Real Madrid until 2012 from next January, although there's a good chance he will see most of his playing action in his first season with the Castilla 'B' team rather than with the first squad, particularly as he would fill a non-EU spot in the squad which may be taken up by subsequent signings.

On the same day, Real Madrid shored up the left flank of defence by renewing Roberto Carlos for an additional year until 2009, replacing the current agreement which would have required him to play a certain number of matches to be renewed.

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