With Liga title, Marcelo is most successful Madrid player

MADRID (AP) — Veteran Brazilian defender Marcelo won his 24th title with Real Madrid on Saturday, becoming the club’s most trophy-laden player.

The left back started in the 4-0 home win over Espanyol, which clinched Madrid the Spanish league.

The 33-year-old Marcelo was tied on the club trophy list with great Francisco “Paco” Gento, whose heyday was the 1950s and 60s. He died this year at age 88.

“This title is the result of a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice,” said Marcelo, who bowed to spectators behind one of the goals as they chanted his name. “This is the greatest thing for a player, to celebrate at home, in front of these fans.”

Marcelo and Karim Benzema, two of the team’s captains, were handed the league trophy in the tribunes of the Santiago Bernabéu, and the Brazilian carried it back to the field where his teammates awaited.

“We could only win this league thanks to the work of the entire squad,” Marcelo said.

He won his 23rd trophy with the club in January, when Madrid took the Spanish Super Cup a few days before Gento’s death.

Marcelo lost his spot as a starter this season and hadn’t played often. He was in the starting lineup on Saturday, though, as coach Carlo Ancelotti rested most of the regular starters ahead of the Champions League semifinal against Manchester City next week.

Marcelo gave the pass to countryman Rodrygo to open the scoring against Espanyol in the 33rd minute at the Bernabéu. Rodrygo added to the lead in the 43rd, Marco Asensio scored in the 55th and substitute Karim Benzema closed the scoring in the 81st.

It was the sixth Spanish league crown for Marcelo, who also has four Champions Leagues, four Club World Cups, three UEFA Super Cups, two Copa del Reys, and five Spanish Super Cups.

Marcelo has also won a Confederations Cup and two Olympic medals with Brazil.

He joined Madrid from Brazilian club Fluminense in 2006 to take over from Brazil great Roberto Carlos on the left flank.

Marcelo’s former Brazil teammate, Dani Alves, has the most career titles with 41, most of them with Barcelona.

Former Madrid defender Sergio Ramos won 22 titles with the Spanish club.

Benzema lifted his 21st trophy with Madrid on Saturday.

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