Real Madrid

Marcelo said Real Madrid miss Cristiano Ronaldo but that Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have been very good replacements.

“[Ronaldo] is the best in the world,” Marcelo said. “It’s obvious that you miss playing with him but Bale and Benzema are really good, too.”

Karim Benzema, who scored twice in the second half of the 4-1 comeback win against Girona on Sunday night, echoed Marcelo’s thoughts when asked about Ronaldo and whether Madrid could move on.

“You can never forget Cristiano,” Benzema said. “He was so important to Real Madrid and scored many goals, and as Marcelo said, is one of the best attackers in the world, but we have to start thinking about a different team with different players.”

Marcelo was taken off with Madrid leading 3-1. Nacho moved to left-back with Raphael Varane coming on to play in central defence.

“The change surprised me, but I respect the manager’s decision,” Marcelo said about his substitution. “I wanted to continue because I was fine, I was 100 percent. I didn’t understand the change but I respect it. It’s a decision made by the manager. I always want to play.”

Marcelo was linked with a move away from the Bernabeu this summer with Juventus reportedly interested, but he stayed put. Theo Hernandez was sent out on loan to Real Sociedad and Sergio Reguilon, a 21-year-old youth product, will likely act as his backup as the season progresses.

Julen Lopetegui said Reguilon would be in the squad ahead of Fabio Coentrao, who is still under contract with the club but is likely to leave before the end of the transfer window.

“It was a more defensive change to put Nacho in there,” said Emilio Butragueno, the club’s director of institutional relations. “From that moment on, we didn’t have any problem defensively on that side.”

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