Leaving a legacy behind: Marcelo

Marcelo has been one of the most transformative signings in the recent history of the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Having been named captain by head coach Marko Rudan before he’d played a minute for the club, he has helped marshall a defence that has been the sturdiest in the league.

And after re-signing for the 2023/24 season, he now wants to personally and collectively build a legacy in Red and Black.

“It’s important to try to leave our legacy now in football, that’s what I want to do in this club.

“I said to Mr. Rudan on the first day we spoke that, ‘I’m not going there (for) holidays, I’m going there to try to get something and to make history.’ We have done nothing yet but we are trying really hard to get there.

“That’s my vision and goal, to bring the name of Western Sydney Wanderers on top, that’s what I want to do.”

He has already made progress on that goal; the club has made the finals for the first time in six years, and will host their first home finals match since 2016. The Wanderers’ defensive solidity has been a huge factor behind their march back to the finals.

The side has only conceded 24 goals in 25 games, which is the best defensive record for the Wanderers since the 2012-13 season. Marcelo has been the standout performer in the backline, with his physicality, tackling ability and passion earning plaudits from fans and pundits.

A testament to his importance in the side is the fact that the Wanderers have only conceded 15 goals whenever he has been on the pitch.

His recent return to the side after suspension exemplified this, as he helped collect a first clean sheet in four matches against Wellington.

A natural leader that motivates the rest of his teammates, and strives to share his wealth of experience gained from his playing career in Europe to the rest of the squad.

“When I see the young players improving themselves and developing on their football, that’s what I’m here for. I’m not just here to enjoy but also to give everything that I got when I was [in] Europe and my experience.

“Everything that I had as a football player I want to share it with someone else and see players like [Alex] Bonetig and also Calem [Nieuwenhof]. Everyone that’s around me, I’m happy to give them something back.”

The fact that Marcelo will be wearing Wanderers colours once again next season as captain is something of a unique occurrence for the club; not since Nikolai Topor-Stanley between 2014-2016 has the club had a captain remain in the role for more than a season.

It is the continuity required to build a winning culture in Western Sydney. Marcelo has also praised the support from the fans and the Red and Black Bloc, saying that he enjoyed the opportunity to meet the fans at the Red & Black Bloc’s 10-year Anniversary event.

“The good thing that I felt from the RBB was that they are going the same direction as the club, that’s really important as a supporter. I was really happy to be there because I get to know them more, and also to get to know each other more. It’s important to know my history and the way I think.”

The hard work for Marcelo and the rest of the side isn’t over, though, and the talismanic Brazilian will need to be at his best as the Wanderers continue their fight for a top two spot as well as success in the finals series.