Cruzeiro, recently bought by Ronaldo, have reportedly joined the race to sign veteran Brazilian defender Marcelo from Real Madrid.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Defensa Central, Marcelo looks increasingly likely to return to Brazil in next summer’s transfer window. The latest club interested in signing the veteran Brazilian defender on a free transfer is Cruzeiro, recently bought by Real Madrid legend Ronaldo.

Marcelo spent the best years of his formative period as a youth footballer with Fluminense, joining their academy aged 13. However, the Brazilian defender’s career took flight when he joined Real Madrid in January 2007 as an 18-year-old.

The move to Real Madrid has worked like a charm, as Marcelo has gone on to establish himself as an all-time great for Los Blancos while also being regarded as one of the best left-backs of his generation. In addition, he has also become the club captain following Sergio Ramos’s shock departure this past summer.

Now nearing a decade and a half at Real Madrid, the 33-year-old has won it all with the Spanish giants, including a historic three-peat of the UEFA Champions League from 2015/16 to 2017/18. All this while, the player has featured over 500 times for the Merengues, amassing 38 goals and 101 assists in the process.

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However, Marcelo’s time at Real Madrid appears to be drawing to a close, as he has been reduced to a bit-part player, with Ferland Mendy preferred to him in the pecking order for left-backs. With the veteran defender in the final year of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, he will likely depart the club as a free agent.

However, Marcelo does not have a shortage of suitors, with former club Fluminense keen on signing him. Widespread reports have also claimed that the Real Madrid captain is ready to rejoin the Tricolor Flu Fluzao after leaving Los Blancos.

However, Palmeiras and Flamengo are also interested in the 33-year-old, thereby setting up a major transfer battle, with Cruzeiro now joining the race to sign him on a free transfer. Ronaldo has recently bought the Brazilian club, and the Real Madrid legend is keen on signing Marcelo as the first of many big-name additions to boost the team’s promotion bid.

However, with Marcelo reportedly ready to rejoin Fluminense, it remains to be seen if any of Cruzeiro, Palmeiras and Flamengo can convince him to join them instead. For now, what remains certain is that the veteran defender is leaving Real Madrid as a free agent next summer.

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