Zidane backs ‘important’ Marcelo

Real Madrid left-back Marcelo

Marcelo was talked up by coach Zinedine Zidane despite his struggles for Real Madrid this campaign.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane backed Marcelo despite criticism of the left-back’s performances this season.

Marcelo, 30, started as Madrid suffered a 2-1 loss at Valencia in LaLiga on Wednesday, their first defeat since Zidane returned to the helm last month.

The Brazil international has been questioned throughout the campaign, even linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Zidane backed the defender, who arrived at Madrid in 2007, and said he was vital for his team.

“He is doing well, it’s Marcelo after all. I am going to count on him, he is a key, important player and I like his style of play,” he said.

“Next game will be [Sergio] Reguilon’s turn because of the ban. He is training well and keeping his focus.”

Madrid are third in LaLiga, 13 points adrift of rivals and leaders Barcelona and 11 ahead of fifth-placed Valencia.