Marcelo is approaching the end of his 13th season as a Real Madrid player, but Predrag Mijatovic has revealed that Fabio Capello wanted the Blancos to “give up” on the Brazilian before he had even got going.
Back in 2007, Roberto Carlos was still very much the main man at Santiago Bernabeu when it came to filling a left-back berth.
The World Cup winner was, however, past his peak and Madrid were in the market for a suitable successor.
They looked to another Brazilian for inspiration, with Marcelo’s potential bought into as a relatively untested teenager.
He was snapped up during the January transfer window, giving him six months to work with fellow countryman Carlos before the latter headed off to Fenerbahce.
Capello was at the Real helm when Marcelo was signed, but the Italian tactician was not initially convinced that the right deal had been done.
Mijatovic, who was sporting director at the time, was not about to give up on the promising South American, though, and helped to pave the way for what was to follow.
The former Blancos striker told ISMAS: "In my first year at Real Madrid, Roberto Carlos was the left-back, the best in football history in my opinion, but I knew that we had to sign a young player to replace him.
"Knowing Roberto like I did, as a team-mate, and knowing his contract was about to end it was clear his performances weren't like they had been, and we needed to replace him.
"Marcelo was 18 years old and totally unknown, and Capello wanted to give up on him, but I refused because I wanted him to train with Roberto Carlos.
"A player, training with a world-class star like Roberto Carlos, can see how he lives, take on any advice from him and that's worth a lot more than 10-15 games on loan."
Marcelo was kept around at the Bernabeu, as Capello was ushered through the exits, and became a regular from the 2007-08 campaign.
The 32-year-old now has 507 appearances for Real to his name – just 17 short of Carlos’ tally for the club – and has helped them to four title triumphs in La Liga, the Champions League and Club World Cup.