It's true ! Marcelo is Red & White
Even the most optimistic and dreamy Olympiacos fan was probably not expecting what happened last night. Olympiacos were due to submit their list to UEFA for the upcoming group stages of the Europa League and it looked all but certain that the Greek champions’ business in the transfer market was all but done. Just three days ago, Olympiacos completed an unexpected move for Spanish midfielder Pep Biel – only 25 years old - in a deal that could be worth up to €10million. The Biel swoop sweetened the mood among Olympiacos fans after what has been a tumultuous summer to say the least: elimination from the Champions League, a new manager, a bloated squad... a club in transition from top to bottom. But let’s get back to our story: the "cherry on top" came at around 22:00 Greek time yesterday.
Out of nowhere, another bomb! El Chiringuito TV tweeted that Brazilian left-back and Real Madrid legend Marcelo was close to finalising a deal with Olympiacos. The news sent fans into... a red & white frenzy. Fast forward two hours later, Olympiacos announced the signing. BAM! Just like that. Side note: I'm pretty sure that for that two-hour period, most Olympiacos fans were either with their ears glued to the radio or frantically pulling refresh on social media waiting for the news to be confirmed. And that's exactly what happened. One of the best left-backs in the game will be wearing the red & white this season with the No12 on his back.
Marcelo has signed a one-year deal with an option to extend until 2024. The former Real star is the first foreign player to captain Los Blancos in the modern era, a club at which he spent 15 years, winning five Champions League trophies and six LaLiga titles. He's one of Real’s most highly decorated players and hardly requires an introduction for most.
At age 34, some people are already asking the questions "but is he fit?", "did he do any training this summer?", "is he still motivated to play?" The answer: we will find out on the pitch. A good friend of mine tried to liken the move to Michael Essien's to Panathinaikos some years ago. But as Themis Kessaris put it earlier, Panathinaikos bought in Essien pinning all their hopes on him. Olympiacos are not pinning all their hopes on Marcelo. In the end, footballers need to do their talking on the pitch and for the ex-Brazil international there's no exception. If he had no motivation to continue playing at a high level, he could have easily gone to play in the MLS or in the Middle East. Besides his technical characteristics, Marcelo is a player that has always been known for his passion, flair and determination on the pitch. He dominated for 15 years at Real, so why can he not play in Greece and the Europa League?!
Besides his playing ability, Marcelo will bring something Olympiacos has been lacking recently. Character. He will bring a different aura the energy to the Olympiacos dressing room, with a winning mentality that fits the club’s DNA. His presence alone will lift everyone at the club and motivate the players to become the best they can be.
Before closing, we spoke to two Brazilians and former Olympiacos stars for their thoughts on Marcelo's move to Thrylos! Let's see what Luciano de Souza and Dudu Cearense had to say:
Luciano: I'm sure this move has come as a massive and pleasant surprise for the fans. From a footballing perspective, I don't need to say anything about Marcelo. I wish him only to be healthy, to make the fans happy and that we enjoy watching him play!
Dudu: I'm so happy that Marcelo is going to Olympiacos, the best club in Greece and one of the biggest clubs in the world too. I hope the fans embrace Marcelo when they see him playing in the stadium, when they see him out on the streets... he will know about the passion (of the fans) for the club. He will understand what it means to be Olympiacos, in the stadium in Karaiskaki ... everywhere. Good luck to one legend of the world and of course Olympiacos!
Marcelo, WELCOME TO OLYMPIACOS !