Speaking on the ‘Charla Podcast’, former Real Madrid captain and defender Marcelo shed light on the strategy he and the club employed to try and keep Lionel Messi quiet during El Clasico encounters.
Marcelo, a Real Madrid legend, came face-to-face with Messi on numerous occasions during his time in Spain and enjoyed mixed success against the Argentine superstar.
It was not always easy for Los Blancos to silence the eight-time Ballon d’Or during the Clasico encounters, but not for a lack of trying.
During the chat on the aforementioned podcast, Marcelo revealed how Real Madrid players were told not to chat up and provoke Messi during matches as he could be a much more dangerous proposition if angry.
As quoted by SPORT, the former Brazil left-back said: “Messi didn’t talk during games and I tried not to talk to him because he was quiet.
“We always said we should leave him like that, because if you decided to obstruct him, you would provoke him and then he would get angry, and if he was angry, he became more and more difficult to handle.”
Recently, Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde also spoke about facing Messi and how he found it difficult to stop the former Barcelona captain, saying:
“I don’t know how to do it. I could never stop him. We have had many Clasicos against him and Casemiro was always a good weapon to face Leo, although not always.”
“You have to respect him because he is one of the best players in the world,” he added.
Messi finished his career in Barcelona with 45 matches against Real Madrid, scoring 26 goals in the process.
Real Madrid summer signing set to return to training soon – report
Real Madrid’s main goal heading into the summer transfer window was to wrap up the signing of Jude Bellingham amid massive interest from Premier League giants such as Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola’s City, especially, were ready to match and increase any salary Madrid offered, and were going strongly into the bidding war.
Eventually, Bellingham decided to join Madrid after they reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund for €3 million.
However, following this, los blancos had to improvise a fair bit as Karim Benzema decided to leave the club to join Al-Ittihad on a free transfer. They were expecting him to continue for another season, at least, and it stumped their plans in the market.
In the next few weeks, Madrid chased forwards, and ended up signing Joselu, Brahim Diaz, and a certain Arda Guler, who was close to Barcelona before eventually ending up at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Unfortunately for Madrid, he is yet to play a single minute for the club after picking up a serious injury in pre-season. Despite being on the bench for a couple of games, Guler suffered a relapse in training, and was sidelined again.
Now, reports from Yagiz Sabuncuoglu say that the Turkish international is close to returning to team training.
Guler has slowly, but surely, been recovering from his injury, and could take to the pitch for his first minutes with the club in the next few weeks as Madrid look for solutions after a month full of injuries.
With Vinicius Jr, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois all out until early 2024, Madrid have relied on Castilla for reinforcements, but could do with Guler’s services in their forward line.
That said, Carlo Ancelotti and co. are expected to be extremely cautious when it comes to the Turkish international. The slightest spell of poor man-management here could make or break the youngster’s career.