With Barcelona and Atletico Madrid both having only just scraped past Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano 1-0 over the weekend, Real Madrid had the opportunity to flex their muscles against Girona.

The Catalans had never won at the Santiago Bernabeu, had been beaten home and away in the Copa del Rey by Los Blancos within the past three weeks, conceding seven across the two games, and had lost six in a row coming into the match in a winless run that stretched back to December 5, 2018, (encompassing 13 games).

It’s surely with that in the back of his mind that Santiago Solari decided to rest a few key players, particularly young Vinicius Junior who, since being given a run in the side, has been the catalyst in most of the matches he’s played.

He would come on later, along with Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz, but it was to no avail.

Undoubtedly, Sergio Reguilon at left-back was just as big a miss, with Marcelo unable to justify his own inclusion after another sub-par performance.

The Brazilian has, to this point, been one of the stalwarts of the club, and behind Sergio Ramos is the vice-captain of the first-team. He holds sway in the dressing room… or at least he did.

Solari has done what Julen Lopetegui and Zinedine Zidane should’ve done before him, because for all of Marcelo’s excellence in an attacking sense, he’s never really been that great at defending, which is precisely what he’s handsomely remunerated for!

Rumours of a move to Juventus and a reunion with his best friend from Real, Cristiano Ronaldo, won’t go away, and with Solari clearly showing that Reguilon is his first choice now, one can’t help but come to the conclusion that Marcelo’s days are numbered at the club.

Against Girona, he was consistently out of position which, as anyone who watches La Liga on a regular basis will tell you is a regular occurrence. As a result, the visitors concentrated much of their raiding down his side.

Losing the ball whilst in possession has become a habit for the left-back too, and cameras picked up on Solari’s expression when Marcelo gave the ball away once too often. Words were not needed to understand the Argentinian coach’s depth of feeling.

Though the player has had a couple of ill-timed injuries to contend with this season, which arguably haven’t helped, the stats don’t lie.

Real have been victorious in all eight games in which Reguilon has started, whilst in Marcelo’s last nine as a starter, they’ve won only one.

When the Brazilian is in the side, Madrid concede a goal every 52 minutes, but with Reguilon there to steady the ship, this stat goes up to a goal every 135 minutes.

There’s a clear imbalance and, with some of Real’s biggest games of the season coming up, frankly, Marcelo only has himself to blame if he’s not part of them.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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