Real Madrid overcame Victoria Plzen 2-1 last night in the Champions League to take some heat off of beleaguered manager Julen Lopetegui. The former Spain coach has had a terrible start to life at the Bernabeu, presiding over one of the longest goalless runs in the clubs history as well as going five matches without a win.
But Lopetegui can breathe a short sigh of relief after left back Marcelo saved his job (at least for one more game), scoring the winning goal with a delightful chip after being played in by Bale:
After the match the frustration surrounding the team's recent performances reared its head, with the match winner getting involved with a tete-a-tete with a journalist over the current treatment of the club by the media. Translation by AS:
Marcelo: It’s tough to take when you don’t win but all of this talk about a crisis, that’s not something we the players are talking about, that’s what you, the press are talking about, you know? We don’t let it affect us at all. You are trying to damage the squad – a lot.
Journalist: You think the press are deliberately trying to damage the squad?
Marcelo: In my opinion, yes.
Journalist: Let’s be specific. Do you think I personally am trying to hurt the squad?
Marcelo: Journalists in general, all of you. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s jealousy, I don’t know, because you don’t know how to play football. I’ve no idea…
Journalist: Well I do know how to play football – maybe not as well as you, and I don’t earn as much money as you but I do know how to play football. I’m a journalist, that’s the only discipline I studied. I’m not a footballer. I don’t like the lack of respect you are showing me because I have never shown you a lack of respect. What’s being able to play football or not got to do with being able to ask you a question about it?
Marcelo: I don’t know, as I said, maybe you’re jealous because you don’t know how to play football…
Journalist: Jealous? Why would we be jealous of you?
Marcelo: I really don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t care.
Journalist: You’re the one who’s attacking us by saying we’re jealous. You cannot show us such disrespect by claiming we are jealous of you. Why should I be jealous of you, Marcelo?
Marcelo: You criticise us every day and show a respect of respect.
Journalist: What are you really bothered about - that we criticise you for who the team performs on the pitch, or for example, what was published in Italy?
Marcelo: I’m not bothered at all. I always stand up and be counted, I’m always here talking to everyone and looking at you straight in the eye. Sometimes, occasionally, I think some things that are written are unfair. But personally, I don’t have any problems.
The journalist's comments about Italy refer to the recent speculation that Marcelo wishes to link up with team mate Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus, which the Brazilian dismissed in the same press conference:
Leaving Madrid? I haven't heard about any offers. No-one's more of a 'Madridista' than I am.
Aside from Marcelo's future, Lopetegui's fate could be sealed by the result of this weekend's El Clasico, with many reports claiming the 52-year-old will be sacked if he fails to get a result against the Catalans.