Brazil legend Roberto Carlos has hailed compatriot Marcelo as the "best left-back of all time".

Marcelo will leave Real Madrid at the end of this month, ending a 15-year stay in the Spanish capital which saw him become Los Blancos' most decorated player.

While playing a limited role in his final season under Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo lifted the LaLiga title and won the Champions League, taking his trophy count to 25 with Madrid.

The 34-year-old was brought in to replace Roberto Carlos when he left Madrid in 2007, and the Brazil legend has lavished praise on his fellow countryman.

"Marcelo, in my opinion, has been the best left-back of all time. He knows, I have talked to him many times," the 49-year-old told reporters.

"It is a shame that he has left Madrid. He is not finishing his career. He continues his sequence in his career as a football player. He has four or five years more.

"We, from Madrid, are very grateful to him for the titles, 25 titles. He overcame me very easily. I saw him grow in Real Madrid, he arrived there when he was 17 years old.

"I didn't go to his [farewell] presentation because I knew I was going to cry. It was his farewell, I knew I was going to cry because I've seen him grow up and look what he's done.

"Nowadays there a lot of questions about who was better, Roberto Carlos or Marcelo, but there is no dispute between me and Marcelo, as he is like my son.

"I know that he has a great story with Real Madrid. For me, it is as if I was winning with him.

"I wish him the best of luck and thank you very much for everything and that he continues to be an idol, an example a phenomenon."

A "very optimistic" Roberto Carlos declared "it is time to win" as he backed Brazil to lift the World Cup in Qatar.

The Selecao breezed through South American World Cup qualifying, topping their group after going unbeaten before the rearranged clash with Argentina on September 22.

Argentina are another force to be reckoned in the battle for the famous Jules Rimet trophy, having gone undefeated in 33 games – the longest intact unbeaten run in international football.

Holders France are also among the contenders, while England, Spain and Germany will be expected to provide stern competition at world football's showpiece event.

Roberto Carlos was in the team that won Brazil's fifth and most recent World Cup in 2002, and he believes Tite's side will end a 20-year wait to be crowned champions in December.

 

"The most important thing is that Brazil have a great team," he told reporters. "It's time to win, because the last photo we have is ours [in 2002].

"I am very optimistic. It is not easy to win a World Cup. In recent times, the Brazilian team are as usual, since our time, they have played great games, but have never been so good.

"The Copa America is important but for the Brazilians, this World Cup is going to be very important and has a special flavour, the moment of the national team is very good.

"At least the European press put Brazil as one of the favourites. This is already an important factor.

"Luis Enrique commented on it the other day, if you ask any other national team coach, the Brazilian team is one of the four favourites for this World Cup. If they prepare well, Brazil will win again."

Brazil start their World Cup campaign against Serbia on November 24, with clashes against Switzerland and Cameroon to follow in Group G.

Karim Benzema deserves to win the Ballon d'Or, according to Real Madrid great Roberto Carlos. 

A stellar season with Madrid has made Benzema one of the favourites for the accolade. He scored 44 goals and supplied 15 assists in 46 games in all competitions, helping Los Blancos win LaLiga, the Champions League and the Supercopa de Espana. 

The 34-year-old scored a joint-record 10 goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League, earning the competition's Player of the Season award. 

Luka Modric is the only player other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to have won the Ballon d'Or since 2008, but Roberto Carlos thinks now is Benzema's time. 

"We hope that this year it can be given to him because he has had a great season and we are all eager for Karim to win the Ballon d'Or for what he has done on the pitch," he told Stats Perform ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid match. 

"He has scored goals, he is a leader and captain of Real Madrid, and it is time for him to win the Ballon d'Or." 

Madrid had been linked with a move for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, but the Uruguayan is reportedly set for a €100million switch to Liverpool. 

"I think Benzema has done so many things for Real Madrid that today everyone wants a striker like him. Darwin has shown in Portugal to be a great striker and I wish him the best if he ends up at Liverpool," said Roberto Carlos. 

Madrid's success against Liverpool in Paris made Carlo Ancelotti the first coach to win the Champions League on four separate occasions. 

He has now won 23 titles during his coaching career and Roberto Carlos anticipates there will be more in the 2022-23 campaign. 

"The coach is fantastic, he's fantastic. That is why he has won so many Champions Leagues and so many leagues," said Roberto Carlos. 

"He is an amazing person. Real Madrid has had a great season in LaLiga, the Supercopa and the Champions League. Now they have to rest to have the same titles next season as this year." 

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