Real Madrid manager speaks on Marcelo and the Juventus links

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Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari has hailed Marcelo’s “love for the club” despite the Brazilian losing his place in the starting XI.

Marcelo, a mainstay at the Santiago Bernabeu since joining from Fluminense in 2007, has not started a game in his favoured left-back slot since the 2-0 defeat at home to Real Sociedad on January 6 with Sergio Reguilon seemingly now first choice.

That has inevitably led to speculation the 30-year-old could leave the Spanish capital with Juventus – where he would reunite with former team-mate and close friend Cristiano Ronaldo – reportedly leading the chase.

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Solari, speaking ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey clash with Girona, refused to discuss the player’s potential exit but did talk up his attitude.

“It always a difficult task to pick the team.”

Asked if he had discussed the situation with Marcelo privately, he added: “What happens in private stays in private.

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“But competition within the squad is an essential part of football. Everyone must feel they have an opportunity and can lose their place [if they don’t do well].”

Madrid failed to win a domestic competition last season – apart from the season-opening Super Cup – and Solari is eager to improve that record, although he admits 12th-placed Girona will be no pushovers.

He said: “Girona are having a very good season, they’re very dangerous on the counter-attack.

“We want to repeat what we showed against Sevilla [on Saturday], when we played a very complete game, and we must bring that to the team in the Copa.”

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