Brazilian and Real Madrid full-back, Marcelo has conceded those at the Santiago Bernabeu are still coming to terms with the departure of “the best in the world”. Karim Benzema also shared the same view.
Real Madrid fans were shocked when their five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo headed to Juventus in a €112 million (£101m/$130m) deal with no direct replacement for him with Julen Lopetegui prepared to put his faith in the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Isco.
Those left behind in the Spanish capital have been able to counter the loss of a talismanic presence so far, but Marcelo admits a sizeable void remains.
The Brazil international full-back told reporters after seeing Madrid battle their way to a 4-1 victory over Girona: “[Ronaldo] is the best in the world.
“It’s obvious that you miss playing with him but Bale and Benzema are really good, too.”
Bale, who enjoyed a productive pre-season as he plays his way back to top form, was once again among the goals against Girona.
He has now netted in each of Real’s La Liga fixtures this season, while French forward Benzema bagged a brace in their latest outing.
Both men are expected to flourish now clear of the shadow cast by Ronaldo at the Bernabeu.
Benzema is, however, eager to point out that that nobody can be expected to fully cover the loss of the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and a modern-day icon.
He said: “You can never forget Cristiano.
“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.”
Real’s victory over Girona means that they continue to set the early pace in La Liga alongside arch-rivals and reigning champions Barcelona – with both sides having taken six points from two games to date.