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May 21, 2022
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Little had to do with each farewell. At least the commitment of each of the protagonists who said goodbye to the Santiago Bernabéu had little to do with it. Marcelo and Isco on the field, receiving the warmth of Real Madrid, Gareth Bale starring in a goodbye away from the dimension of his figure for the recent history of Real Madrid.

The three were part of an unforgettable generation for Real Madrid. The one that went down in football history for winning four Champions Leagues in five editions, the first time since the name change of the European Cup that a club won three in a row. And all three have seen their importance in the team diminish until the end of their contracts.

Marcelo and Isco without leaving a club they arrived at in 2007 and 2013, respectively. Gareth Bale after a second stage, after his transfer to Tottenham last season, clearly avoidable. Already without the respect of Real Madrid for the lack of commitment in his club and the contrast with his delivery in the Wales team.

Nobody was surprised that Bale was finally ruled out by Carlo Ancelotti for the match. And it won’t be because the Italian coach hasn’t tried since his return. He even gave him ownership at the start of LaLiga Santander, always defending the figure of the Welshman and praising his past until the last day.

“He has been part of the history of this club. He remains in the memory of all Real Madrid fans because he was important in the tenth, in the final in kyiv, in the Copa del Rey. A player who has written important pages”, said ‘Carletto’ when he already knew that despite calling up Bale he would be ruled out because the back problems that did not prevent his team from qualifying for the 2022 World Cup play-off final, have prevented him from play for his club from April 9.

His pain was so ‘strong’ that he was not allowed to be at the La Liga celebration at the Bernabéu, during the visit to La Cibeles or at the dinner for the entire squad, or in the photo of a historic European comeback against Manchester City. Before that, he already decided to move away from the image in the visiting dressing room of the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán with the comeback that definitively sentenced LaLiga Santander.

In his only appearance in two and a half years at the Bernabéu, against Getafe in which he points to his last match with Real Madrid given his few minute options in the Champions League final against Liverpool, Bale received the punishment of madridism. Hisses at his lack of commitment.

A contrast with the way Marcelo was received when he jumped to warm up. The audience stood applauding at the restrained emotion of the Brazilian, who put his hand to his chest in gratitude. Isco did the same thing when it was his turn.

Marcelo is still waiting for a gesture from the club at 33 years old, a final downward proposal so that he can continue to extend his legend after becoming the footballer with the most titles in the history of the white club with the conquest of his sixth league. With 24 he surpassed the legend Paco Gento and the debate on whether he or his admired Roberto Carlos is the best left-back in the years of existence of Real Madrid will be eternal.

The entire Bernabéu chanted Marcelo’s name in unison in the 70th minute when he entered the field for Ferland Mendy, the player who has relegated him to the bench since his arrival. He was received with honors even by his teammates, with Karim Benzema’s gesture of putting the captain’s armband on him. Who knows if for the last time.

For his ‘last dance’, a pairing full of history with Joaquín appeared. The Betis player was also applauded by the Santiago Bernabéu fans in a gesture of respect for a great figure in Spanish football on a night of awards that began with the beautiful image of a double corridor between the League champion and the Copa del Rey champion.

For Isco there was also affection, a step below Marcelo to a figure who left magic in his football but also moments of misunderstanding in an unjustified blackout at the age of 30 at a time when footballers’ careers are lengthened. He will look for a destination where he finds the continuity he desires and regains happiness. And he was overshadowed, with his walk full of sadness, at the recognition of Marcelo from the stands and at the end of the game from all his teammates in midfield, with gestures of reverence to an unforgettable footballer.

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