Marcelo breaks down in tears after returning to Brazil.
Brazil’s Serie A Fluminense drew 1-1 with Argentina’s Liga Profesional Argentinos Juniors in the first leg of the 2023 Confederation of South American Football (CONMEBOL) Libertadores Round of 16 at Estadio Diego Armando Maradona in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at 7 a.m. ET on Aug. 2. The two teams will meet in the second leg on August 9 to determine the quarterfinalists.
Marcelo returned to Brazil in February after leaving Greek Superliga side Elada Olympiakos to make a surprise return to his hometown club Fluminense. It’s been 16 years since he broke into the European scene with Real Madrid in 2007 and took the world by storm as a world-class player. After a steady run in the Brazilian Serie A, Marcelo is now in the Libertadores round of 16.
Fluminense started Marcelo at left fullback. But it didn’t go as planned. They conceded an early goal just 14 minutes after kickoff. Fluminense fought back at the start of the second half to try and get back into the game, with Marcelo providing support on the flanks.
Then came a horrific moment. In the 13th minute of the second half, Marcelo stepped on a defender’s leg while protecting the ball. The referee pulled out a red card after a video assistant referee (VAR) review. Marcelo was sent off in tears as his teammates protested the decision.
Fluminense scored an equalizer in stoppage time to earn a draw. After the game, Marcelo apologized. According to global media outlet ESPN, Marcelo said on social media, “I experienced a very difficult moment on the pitch today. I accidentally injured a teammate. 안전놀이터 I wish Luciano Sanchez (Argentinos Juniors) a speedy recovery,” he wrote.
Messages of support were also sent from the club. “We express our solidarity and wish a speedy recovery to Sanchez, who was injured in an accidental move in tonight’s game,” said Fluminense. Argentinos Juniors also said that “we are not enemies, we are rivals” and that emotions should not lead to a fight. According to local media, Sanchez, who was injured by Marcelo, is expected to be out of action for between eight and 12 months.