Real Madrid legend, Marcelo has named Lionel Messi as the ‘toughest’ opponent he faced during his storied 18-year career.
The Brazilian defender spent 15 years at the Bernabeu, where he became the club’s most decorated player of all time, winning 25 trophies with Los Blancos before his departure in 2022.
Speaking to the Athletic, Marcelo described his time playing with Messi during their many historic El Clasicos.
‘Messi is incredible, the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced,’ he noted of the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
‘We all know the quality he has even now, aged 35, and before it was the same.
‘El Clasico has always been one of the best games to watch and play. I was lucky enough to have featured in one of the best eras of Clasicos.’
But Marcelo, who was close friends with team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo during their time at Real, was quick to note that it ‘wasn’t just Messi’ who defined the Clasicos of the late 2000s and 2010s, but other players who featured were ‘also incredible’.
The Brazilian international joined Real Madrid in 2005, where he won the Los Blancos won 12 Clasicos to Barcelona’s 16. After leaving the club during last summer’s transfer window, Marcelo joined Greek side Olympiacos.
In February 2023, the 34-year-old terminated his contract and returned to his boyhood club Fluminense in Brazil.