DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: THE STORY OF MARCELO AND A GRANDFATHER WHO SACRIFICED EVERYTHING

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: THE STORY OF MARCELO AND A GRANDFATHER WHO SACRIFICED EVERYTHING

‘My inspiration has always been my grandfather.’

Marcelo knows the answer to the question before the interviewer – in this case, NorBlack NorWhite fashion house founder Amrit Kumar – has finished asking.

‘He supported me through everything, believing in me, and putting aside his own work.’

No story about the brilliant Brazilian’s journey - from playing futsal in Rio’s Catete neighbourhood to becoming a gold-plated Galáctico – is complete without a chapter or two on Pedro Vieira da Silva, the man to whom Marcelo credits his remarkable career.

Like many of Brazil's most talented players, Marcelo’s upbringing was tough. Football though provided an escape.

While his parents worked long hours (for modest pay), responsibility for getting him to and from games fell to his grandfather, who would transport him to matches in his beaten up Volkswagen Beetle. Every time Pedro turned the steering wheel too far, the radio station would change.

As Marcelo explains in Budweiser and COPA90’s new #KingsCollabs film, the part his grandfather played in helping realise his dreams is represented by a tattoo on the defender’s arm – a simple illustration of the car Pedro drove and which played such a vital role in his development.

‘He taught me how to drive in this car. This car is known as the fusquinha - it took me to training sessions, it would take us to watch his games as well.

‘So it is a car with beautiful stories, that's why I got it tattooed on my arm.’

The film sees NorBlack NorWhite founders Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar fly to Madrid to meet Marcelo. Towards the end, he is presented with a bespoke bomber jacket inspired by his illustrious career – and which includes an homage to Pedro’s old Beetle.

 

 

Marcelo is the finest left back of the past decade. Statistically, it's indisputable: more than 500 games for Real Madrid, four Champions Leagues, four Club World Cups, three European Super Cups, four La Liga titles... the list of honours go on and on and on.

Analytics aside, anyone who has seen him play will testify that he is joyous to watch: gifted, fearless, athletic, relentless.

It's more than 13 years since he was signed for just £6 million (let that figure sink in for a moment) from Fluminense, bought to provide cover and competition for a certain Roberto Carlos. His arrival may have gone under the radar – Marcelo’s acquisition came in the same season as the capture of Fabio Cannavaro, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Gonzalo Higuain – but it soon became apparent that the modest outlay on the little Brazilian was a phenomenal piece of business.

 

Fast forward to 2020, and he is now the second longest-serving member of Real’s squad, behind only Sergio Ramos. Since moving to the Bernabéu, he has represented Los Blancos more than 500 times.
‘I think in life there are a few opportunities we can't let go by,’ says Marcelo. ‘I arrived at Real Madrid when I was 18. Real Madrid wanted to loan me to another team. I said I didn't want to go, I wanted to stay because I knew that one day I would become an important player for the team.

‘So I believe that those are the opportunities you get that you have to grab and not let them pass you by.’

 

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