Marcelo confirms Real Madrid exit after 15 years with the club

By Sports Desk May 28, 2022

Veteran Brazilian full-back Marcelo has confirmed he is leaving Real Madrid following their Champions League final triumph.

The 34-year-old left-back has been with Los Blancos since 2007, making almost 550 appearances for the Spanish powerhouse, trailing only Karim Benzema as the highest-ranking foreigner.

Marcelo, who was an unused substitute in Saturday's 1-0 win over Liverpool, confirmed after the game that he would leave the club this off-season with his contract expiring at the end of June.

"It was my last game with Real Madrid," Marcelo said.

Marcelo will exit the club with 25 titles as a Madridista, which is more than any other player in club history.

It had been speculated that the Brazilian may accept a pay cut to remain with Madrid next season.

Marcelo, who joined Madrid from Fluminense, made 18 appearances in all competitions this campaign.

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  • Costa Rica can 'still dream' after late World Cup win against Japan Costa Rica can 'still dream' after late World Cup win against Japan

    Luis Fernando Suarez is relieved his Costa Rica team can "still dream" after they sealed a vital 1-0 win against Japan at the World Cup on Sunday.

    Coming off the back of a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain in their opening game, Keysher Fuller's 81st-minute strike against the run of play at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium handed Costa Rica a win that gives them a chance of advancing to the knockout stage in Qatar.

    Los Ticos became the first team to concede seven goals in a game and then win their next match at the World Cup since Paraguay in 1958 (lost 7-3 to France, won 3-2 against Scotland).

    Head coach Suarez said he did not want to discuss "tactics or technical aspects" of the win as he praised his team at his post-match press conference.

    "I believe the main thing was our ability to do such amazing things," he said. "I'm not going to talk about tactical or technical aspects, today I need to value and appreciate what they have done to get this result.

    "We had to face many challenges but we firmly believed and wanted to be 100 per cent committed for our country to play well against a strong opponent like Japan.

    "We are alive [in the group], that is the main thing and no-one can forget about us yet. We can still dream."

    Fuller was the hero, with his goal the only shot Costa Rica have had on target in the tournament so far, and the 28-year-old added: "The main thing was to keep ourselves alive and to win, and we managed to do so.

    "We were in pain after the Spain defeat, but now we took a weight off our shoulders. We are a group that wants to achieve great things."

    Japan struggled to reproduce the form that saw them shock Germany in their opening game in Qatar, but the Samurai Blue still dominated large parts of the game, having 13 shots to Costa Rica's four and recording an expected goals (xG) rate of 0.8 to their opponents' 0.1.

    Head coach Hajime Moriyasu was left disappointed but stated in his press conference that his team will go into their final Group E clash against Spain with confidence.

    "It wasn't a bad match," he insisted. "In the second half we were trying to control the game and if we could have had total control, we would have won, but it didn't happen.

    "We beat Germany but that does not mean we will beat Spain. Both countries are World Cup winners, we have a lot of respect for them.

    "The Spain match will be tough but I think there is a good chance for us to win, so we have to prepare and go with confidence."

  • South Korea v Ghana: Taeguk Warriors targeting apparent lack of 'teamwork' as Addo keeps faith South Korea v Ghana: Taeguk Warriors targeting apparent lack of 'teamwork' as Addo keeps faith

    Unity will likely be key if Ghana are to avoid an early elimination from the World Cup, though that is seemingly an area upcoming opponents South Korea are aiming to exploit.

    The Black Stars put up a good fight as they lost 3-2 to Portugal, almost rescuing a commendable point only to see Inaki Williams slip at the vital moment after stealing the ball off goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

    As such, defeat at Education City on Monday will see Ghana exit at the group stage in consecutive appearances at the World Cup (also in 2014) after reaching the knockout rounds in both of their first two (2006 and 2010).

    But Ghana coach Otto Addo retains a positive outlook.

    Granted, his optimism is based partly on Portugal doing Ghana a favour against Uruguay, but Addo sees a real possibility of the Black Stars sitting second in Group H heading into the final game of the first stage.

    Asked if he was confident Ghana could still reach the last 16, Addo said: "First of all, certainly, we have a chance, especially because [South Korea and Uruguay] played a draw.

    "If we win against South Korea and Portugal wins, hopefully, against Uruguay, then we will be second, so the chance is still great.

    "For sure, it will be very, very tough to beat South Korea because they are good, but now we have to win. We are under pressure, but they are too."

    Ghana have not won any of their past five World Cup matches but they rarely fail to score, having netted at least once in six successive games at the tournament – Nigeria (eight) are the only African team to better that streak.

    With that in mind, South Korea will probably need to improve on their run of not scoring in three of their past five World Cup outings if they are to prevail on Monday.

    On top of that, they have failed to get a single shot on target in two of their most recent four fixtures at the tournament, and that includes the stalemate with Uruguay when they looked somewhat toothless.

    However, Paulo Bento's men seem to feel there will be an element of Ghana not helping themselves.

    Midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong said: "They are a fast team, but if we can take advantage of space behind their defence, I think we should have some opportunities.

    "They didn't seem to have such great team work. We played well in our first match and we'll try to build on that against Ghana."

    Fellow midfielder Song Min-kyu did not question Ghana's work ethic, though he picked up on a similar theme with regards to exploiting the Black Star's backline.

    "They have some speedy and physical players with good skills. We know we have to be prepared against them.

    "But we also saw that they had some holes behind their defense, and we should try to exploit that extra space."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    South Korea – Lee Kang-in

    Son Heung-min is, of course, South Korea's star. He will undoubtedly be expected to lead from the front, but he was ineffective against Portugal, managing just a single shot.

    Lee had some bright moments off the bench and ended up recording two key passes, a figure bettered by none of his team-mates. It is unclear if he will come into the starting XI, but he certainly has the ability to influence proceedings off the bench.

    Ghana – Thomas Partey

    Arsenal midfielder Partey showed how important he is to Ghana in the defeat to Portugal. Perhaps not known as a creator, he laid on two chances to team-mates in that game, a joint-high for Addo's side.

    But on top of that, he had the most touches (68), successful passes (47) and tackles (four) in the Ghana team. If they do beat South Korea, he will surely have played a vital role.

    PREDICTION

    With a 40.9 per cent chance of winning, South Korea go into this as the favourites according to Stats Perform data. However, the win probability calculator suggests it could be a very tight affair.

    The likelihood of a Ghana win sits at 31.3 per cent, meaning they have every right to feel they can leave with the three points – though a draw looks almost as likely (27.8 per cent).

  • Tite admits making a mistake with Neymar injury but remains confident Brazil's talisman will return in Qatar Tite admits making a mistake with Neymar injury but remains confident Brazil's talisman will return in Qatar

    Tite conceded he made a mistake in not realising earlier that Neymar had sustained an ankle injury in Brazil's World Cup win over Serbia.

    Neymar hobbled off in the 80th minute of the Selecao's 2-0 win on Thursday, having suffered what has been described as a lateral ligament injury to his right ankle.

    The Paris Saint-Germain star shared an update on his official Instagram account on Saturday, including photos of his heavily swollen foot. 

    Tite said in his post-match press conference that he was confident Neymar, as well as Danilo, who also suffered an injury against Serbia, would still be able to feature in Qatar.

    However, at his pre-match media conference ahead of Brazil's second Group G game, against Switzerland, Tite said he could have handled his star man better.

    "I made a mistake," he said. "I did not realise and I want to publicly acknowledge this.

    "He was injured, I didn't see that he had an injury, we didn't get that information. 

    "He tried to continue to play until he told us he was feeling his ankle, because right then he had the ability to try to push with the team, he participated in the goals.

    "I hadn't seen he had an injury, it was 10 minutes and it was not malicious, it was accidental."

    Neymar was fouled nine times against Serbia and has been the subject of heavy treatment during his previous two World Cup appearances.

    Across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups combined, Neymar was fouled a leading 44 times – or once every 21 minutes, more often than any other player impeded on at least 25 occasions.

    "If we want to celebrate the football we have to pay attention to the fouls, because they focus on specific players," Tite said. "This is a fact and it has to be stopped."

    Tite remains, however, confident that Neymar and Danilo will both return before Brazil's campaign in Qatar is over.

    "That's my opinion," he said. "Medically I am not in a position to speak but I do have the medical reports.

    "I can continue to say that not only about Neymar but also about Danilo. Both situations have changed, but we do believe both will be available to play.

    "We have to live day by day, deal with the possibilities. We have 26 players who have to be fit and in great shape, that's how we've been working. It shows why team spirit is important."

    When it was put to him that even without Neymar Brazil remain favourites to win the World Cup, Tite replied: "Neymar is an extraordinary talent, but we are also relying on our other players as well.

    "What I think about major talents is that they are players who do everything well and maybe in three opportunities they get them. Creativity is not constant.

    "This talent comes up only two, three times in a match and Neymar has that ability.

    "There are other players. An assist from Vinicius [Junior], or creativity when finishing a play from Richarlison, a header from Pedro, a chance for Gabriel Jesus, Raphinha… they have this ability."

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