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contemptible gamesmanship

Marcelo’s Dive Against Wolfsburg Was The Absolute Worst

Just when we were finally warming to Real Madrid, Marcelo had to go and ruin it for everyone

by VICE Sports Staff
07 April 2016, 1:30pm

Real Madrid are not, traditionally, a very likeable club. Like most objectionable entities on the planet, they are known first and foremost for ostentatious displays of wealth. Having initiated the Galacticos era at the turn of the millennium, they splashed obscene amounts of money on the biggest names in the world. On the pitch, the best individual players didn't equate to the best team. The result was perennial underachievement – more and more cash burned on the altar of marketable pomp.

Unsurprisingly, the massive expenditure sent fan expectation soaring. The players have never been able to fully satisfy the support since. In recent years, they've booed Gareth Bale. They've booed Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlo Ancelotti and Iker Casillas. They've booed Champions League winners, club legends and superstars with hundreds of games for Los Blancos to their name.

They've booed everyone. For the rest of us, it's been really quite tiresome.

The club have become a little bit more sympathetic in recent months, however. It's hard to quantify exactly why. Maybe it's because they've appointed Zinedine Zidane as manager – sure, he's a former Galactico, but nobody can dislike a man who's been sent off in a World Cup final for a no-fucks-given headbutt.

Likewise, the booing from the stands seems to have died down a bit. Rafa Benitez lowered expectations during his time at the helm, clearly.

Still, just as our natural loathing for Real Madrid was starting to ebb away, Marcelo has just brought it all rushing back in one vast, antediluvian flood. Playing in their 2-0 Champions League defeat to Wolfsburg last night, the Brazilian full-back bought a booking for an opponent with a dive that was – and there's no other way to put this – the absolute worst.

If you need a brief crash course in making yourself look awful, this clip is it. First Marcelo kicks out at Die Wölfe midfielder Max Arnold, itself a studied act of petulance. Having failed to get the required reaction, he bumps into his opponent's chest before collapsing theatrically to the ground. This is slapstick. This is parody. The referee shows Arnold a yellow card, and it is almost sublime.

Except, it is not sublime – it is embarrassing and terrible. Just when we were finally warming to Real Madrid, Marcelo's gone and ruined it for everyone.