Real Madrid: 5 burning questions after loss to Shakhtar Donetsk

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Marcelo
Real Madrid, Marcelo (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

And what happened to Marcelo?

Another Real Madrid star who is struggling this season, Marcelo received a second straight start despite being one of the worst performers against Cadiz. Zinedine Zidane probably wanted to play Ferland Mendy on the right over Nacho Fernandez, but that didn’t exactly go to plan either.

Marcelo had a couple of great plays in this game. He had two crosses that created dangerous opportunities, so all was not bad for the Brazilian legend. However, he was so, so bad defensively, furthering the notion that he can no longer start for Real Madrid in important games. He left his center backs exposed badly, which was a story we saw play out frequently in 2019-2020.

In the attack, Marcelo was much better than against Cadiz, but that’s not saying much. He put in an embarrassing shift well beneath his standard against Cadiz.

Some of the same issues were apparent against Shakhtar, though. Marcelo clogged up the half-spaces and often gave away the ball cheaply. When he went out wide, he posed zero threat. Note that Marcelo completed only one dribble against Shakhtar, which is an indication that his offensive game is becoming more limited outside of early crossing.

Marcelo isn’t a useless player, and we should be careful not to exaggerate. But he is becoming a liability against certain opponents.