Where are they now? Real Madrid’s XI from Marcelo’s debut in 2007
Marcelo has arguably been the best left-back in Real Madrid’s illustrious history – but what became of the starting XI from his debut all the way back in January 2007?
Signed from Fluminense in the autumn of 2006, Marcelo went on to become a mainstay in the Madrid first team and has won four Champions League titles. He could even make that five before May is out.
The Brazilian is the most decorated player in the club’s history, winning 24 major honours with Madrid and making over 500 appearances in the famous white shirt.
He made his debut during a 2-0 defeat at Deportivo La Coruna at the start of 2007, where the young defender wouldn’t have dreamt of the success he’d enjoy in Spain.
And we’ve investigated where that Madrid XI are now and how they’ve fared in the years since.
GK: Iker Casillas
Casillas is regarded as the best goalkeeper in Real Madrid’s history by the vast majority of the club’s fans.
The 40-year-old racked up over 700 appearances for the Spanish giants from 1999 to 2015 after progressing through Madrid’s academy ranks and won 19 major honours.
He spent five years at Porto before retiring in 2020. There were concerns when the former Spain international suffered a heart attack during a training session in July 2019 and later had another heart issue in May 2021.
But Casillas is back in good health and is currently deputy CEO at Madrid’s Foundation.
RB: Sergio Ramos
Another legend at the Bernabeu. The Paris Saint-Germain centre-back is the fourth-highest all-time appearance maker at Madrid.
Los Blancos paid €27million to secure the services of the Spain international from fellow La Liga outfit Sevilla in 2005 as a 19-year-old.
They more than got their money’s worth. It was just the four Champions League triumphs for Ramos in his trophy-laden stay before he made the switch to Paris in July 2021.
READ: 13 of football’s biggest sh*thouses: Ramos, Costa, Pepe, Van Bommel…
CB: Ivan Helguera
Helguera played for eight seasons at the Whites following his arrival from Espanyol in 1999.
He won two European Cups in a memorable stay. He then signed for Valencia where he retired in 2008 with nearly 300 appearances to his name in the Spanish top-flight.
The defender briefly managed Las Rozas in his homeland in 2020 but is yet to return to the dugout.
CB: Fabio Cannavaro
The star-studded list of names continues. Madrid signed the legendary Italian defender after he lifted the 2006 World Cup with his country, and he subsequently won the Ballon d’Or during his first season at the club.
“At first, it wasn’t easy – I had three very difficult months there. In Spain, the kind of football they play is completely different, it’s more individual, not so much a collective team game,” Cannavaro said in 2020.
At 33, and having just won the biggest football competition around, he was very much a starter and remained so in his three seasons at the Bernabeu.
He won two league titles in Spain before returning to Juventus – the club Madrid signed him from. He ended his playing career in 2011 at Shabab Al Ahli Club and his most recent job in football was as manager of the Chinese national team.
LB: Michel Salgado (Marcelo 57′)
Premier League lovers may remember Salgado best for his time under Sam Allardyce at Blackburn Rovers, but the tireless right-back flourished most for Madrid in a 10-season, trophy-packed stay from 1999-2009.
He was a fan favourite who called quits on a glistening career in 2012. Although Salgado did temporarily come out of retirement in 2018 with Independiente in Panama.
The former Spain international now runs a football academy in Dubai.
Marcelo has been at the Bernabeu since 2007 after arriving from his boyhood team Fluminense. Fifteen years on, he’s club captain and a key part of Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
RM: Guti (David Beckham 12′)
Madrid academy product Guti had passing skills that could rival the best. He won every trophy on offer before signing off at Besiktas in 2011.
“Guti was a cult player, someone we didn’t know how to interpret,” Jorge Valdano, the man who gave Guti his senior debut in 1995, once said.
“We saw him as conflicted, but, in reality, he was a free man, playing at a time when football began to require submissive players to commit to a collective structure.
“I feel it impossible not to feel nostalgic for a player who invented something new every time he received the ball.”
The 45-year-old has dipped his toe in management since hanging up the boots but is currently out of work after being sacked by Spanish side Almeria in June 2020.
Sometimes you feel like people forget just how good Beckham was. The Inter Miami owner showed his class at Madrid, as he did for so many years under Sir Alex Ferguson’s stewardship at Manchester United.
READ: Real Madrid’s English era: How David Beckham’s grit earned glory at last
The defensive midfielder lasted just one season at the Whites with Fabio Capello at the helm.
The 46-year-old, who hasn’t returned to the sport since retiring in 2020, was one of the few in this team who failed to make the grade in the Spanish capital.
CM: Fernando Gago (Ronaldo ’58)
Gago clocked up 121 appearances for Los Blancos over four-and-a-half seasons between January 2007 and the summer of 2011.
The Argentine was seen as one of the best South American players around which is why Madrid bought him from Boca Juniors.
But scoring just one goal for the club tells the story. He retired in November 2020 as a 34-year-old in his homeland with Velez Sarsfield and now manages Racing Club.
Gago’s replacement in Marcelo’s debut match needs no introduction. The lethal Brazilian scored for fun to help Madrid to two La Liga titles in his five years in Spain.
Injuries were the only thing that hampered the two-time Ballon d’Or winner’s career which saw him retire in 2011 at Corinthians.
Ronaldo bought Cruzeiro – the club where he made his professional debut as a 16-year-old – in December 2021. You imagine that keeps him busy.
READ: The last goodbye: How Ronaldo went to Corinthians & stole Pele’s crown
LM: Jose Antonio Reyes
Reyes spent the 2006-07 campaign on loan at Real from Premier League titans Arsenal and scored six goals in a productive spell.
It’s a tragedy that his life was cut short in a car accident in June 2019 when he was just 35.
We all remember him shining at the Gunners alongside Thierry Henry and co.
ST: Ruud van Nistelrooy
Van Nistelrooy swapped Old Trafford for the Bernabeu in 2006 and went on to register 64 goals in 96 outings in a fantastic four-season stay in Spain.
The prolific goalscorer scored 25 in his debut campaign at the Whites and won two league crowns to go with a long list of honours he amassed at Manchester United.
After leaving Real, he continued his career at Hamburg and then Malaga before retiring in 2012.
He has recently been appointed PSV manager, and we’ve got a sneaking suspicion that he’ll do a good job…
READ: Van Nistelrooy will make the perfect manager – he’s avoided Neville’s folly
Raul was a symbol of Madrid. After excelling in the youth ranks at the club, he had the same impact at first-team level banging in the goals – 323 of them, to be exact.
The club’s record appearance maker is one of the finest to wear the famous white shirt, and he’s now coaching youth players who hope to follow in his footsteps.
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