MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid needed a big room for Marcelo’s farewell ceremony on Monday.
It had to fit all 25 trophies he won with the club, the most ever by a Madrid player.
The left-back officially bid farewell to Madrid after 16 seasons with the Spanish club, breaking down in tears and having a hard time speaking.
Marcelo had to pause when he started talking about Raúl González, one of the past and current players attending the ceremony at Madrid’s headquarters, recounting how the former striker set an example for him as a player and a person.
“I have to thank Raúl, who is sitting right here,” Marcelo said. “You helped me a lot when I first arrived. I won’t forget how you gave us a gift and a lot of advice when my son Enzo was born. You were always very caring, you and your family, and I’ll never forget that. I always tried to follow your example.”
The 34-year-old Marcelo ended his era with Madrid by lifting his fifth Champions League title with the club last month. He also helped Madrid win six Spanish league trophies, four Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, two Copa del Reys and five Spanish Super Cups. With Brazil, he won a Confederations Cup and two Olympic medals.
“When I left Brazil I set my sights on playing for a big European team and I signed for Madrid at the age of 18,” Marcelo said. “It’s been a tremendous adventure. I thought I could reach the top and today I walk out of here as the player with the most trophies in the history of the best club in the world.”
Club president Florentino Pérez presented Marcelo with the Real Madrid gold and diamond insignia and said the club will always be his home.
“We madridistas are indebted to you for dedicating your heart and soul to every game, for that Brazilian talent and quality that have made you a unique player, for the way you are on the pitch and also in life,” Pérez said. “Your creativity and your happiness were always crucial for the team in achieving all its great success.”
Marcelo lost his spot as a starter this season and didn’t play often under coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was also among those attending the ceremony.
Marcelo has said he plans to play another couple of years before retiring, then wants to somehow remain involved with Madrid.
“This is a day for joy, not sadness,” he said. “I arrived as a boy and I’m leaving as a man.”
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