Marcelo called Fluminense’s success in the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday the biggest title of his career, ahead of Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League.
Rio de Janeiro-based Fluminense, Marcelo’s boys’ team, claimed its first title in the CONMEBOL South American club competition after a gritty 2-1 victory over Argentina’s Boca Juniors after extra time.
The Brazilian left-back, 35, won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid during an impressive 15-year career with the Spanish giants, but revealed it meant more because of his boyhood attachment to Fluminense.
Marcelo told ESPN: ‘Real Madrid will understand. It is my most important title, at club level, because it is the club that raised me.
‘I am winning a very important title at my favorite club, the club that has given me all the resources to build my career, with the staff who have seen me grow up. There’s nothing more rewarding than that. It is priceless.
Marcelo called Fluminense’s success in the Copa Libertadores final his greatest ever title
Marcelo’s boyhood club defeated Boca Juniors 2-1 after extra time in a tough final in Brazil
He said it meant more to him than the five Champions League titles he won with Real Madrid
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‘I had a debt to Fluminense. It was written (that we would win the trophy). There’s nothing else to say.
‘Many people criticized us, but today Fluminense are champions of the Copa Libertadores. … I used to cry, I was nervous, but now it’s all about happiness.”
Marcelo started as a youth player at Fluminense in 2002 before breaking through to the first team.
In 2007, he moved to Real Madrid, where in a decade and a half he won five Champions League trophies, six LaLiga titles, five Spanish Super Cups, four Club World Cups, three European Super Cups and two Copa del Rey trophies.
After leaving Spain last year, he had a spell with Greek side Olympiacos before returning to his boyhood club in Rio in February.
Marcelo started Saturday’s final and was substituted at half-time as Fluminense took a 1-0 lead thanks to German Cano’s goal in the 36th minute.
Boca Juniors’ Luis Advincula equalized 18 minutes from time, sending the match to extra time.
Sub John Kennedy hit a brilliant volley strike to give the Brazilian side the lead in extra time
Marcelo is now one of only fifteen players to have won both international club tournaments
Substitute John Kennedy hit a beautiful volley to give the Brazilian side the lead, but was given a second booking for celebrating with the crowd, reducing Fluminense to ten men.
As Boca Juniors looked to get back on level terms with a man advantage, Frank Fabra was also shown a red card after a VAR review showed he had punched a player.
Fluminense persisted, meaning Marcelo has joined a group of just fifteen players who will join Ronaldinho, Neymar and Julian Alvarez in conquering both intercontinental club tournaments.
Brazilian clubs have now won the last five editions of the Copa Libertadores, with Flamengo prevailing in 2019 and 2022, and Palmeiras winning back-to-back titles in 2020 and 2021.