“I didn’t even know there was a Champions League until I was 16…”

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Real Madrid left-back Marcelo gave a fascinating insight into his past in an interview with The Players’ Tribune this week – for example, how he never heard of the Champions League until he was 16 years Old.

Marcelo told a story of when he was a six-year-old in Rio de Janeiro and helped to paint a mural of Ronaldo before the 1994 World Cup:

“In Brazil, right before the World Cup begins; everybody in the neighborhood goes outside in the streets and paints murals to celebrate. Everything gets covered in green, blue and yellow — the streets, the fences, the walls, people’s faces. This is such a special memory for every little kid in Brazil”.

Real Madrid’s Marcelo poses with the trophy after the Champions League final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, May 28, 2016. Real Madrid won 5-4 on penalties after the match ended 1-1 after extra time. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno) ORG XMIT: FOS226

The Champions League? What’s that?

Marcelo has lifted the Champions League three times with Madrid but there was a time when he hadn’t even heard of it:

“Until I was 16 years old, I didn’t even know there was a Champions League. I remember the moment exactly — I was sitting in the team room in Xerém, and some of the guys were watching a match on TV. It was Porto and Monaco. But the game actually looked different”, he explained.

“This game looked like it was being broadcast from some other planet that I didn’t know about. I was like, “Hey, what the hell is this league? And my friend says, “It’s the Champions League.”

Joining Madrid aged 18…

He also described the moment he signed for Real Madrid as a teenager in November 2006:

“One day, I got a call from an agent. He said, “Do you want to go to Real Madrid? Then I’m on a plane to Madrid. Remember, I had just turned 18. I swear to God that I thought I was just going there for a chat.

“When I arrived to meet with the club, I saw the contract on the table, with the Real Madrid crest on it and everything — and I signed it.

“They unveiled me to the media that day. I had no idea. My own family back in Brazil told me that they didn’t believe it was real until they saw the news on Globo Esporte”

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