Real Madrid full-back Marcelo has toasted Cristiano Ronaldo as a supreme competitor and treasured team-mate following the Portugal star’s €100 million (£88m/$117m) move to Juventus.
Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay in La Liga on Tuesday in search of a “new cycle” in a career which has included five Champions League titles.
Four of those were won alongside Marcelo at Madrid with the pair forming part of a strong core that turned Los Blancos into European football’s dominant force.
In a heartfelt post on social media, the Brazil defender expressed surprise over Ronaldo’s decision to leave, but wished the best for the 33-year-old and his family.
“I swear I did not think this day would come! But nothing in this life is forever, I hope you are very happy on your new journey,” Marcelo wrote on Instagram.
Quem diria hein Cris!!! É mano chegou a hora de dizer até logo… Te juro q nao imaginava que esse dia chegaria! Mas nada nessa vida é pra sempre, espero q vc seja muito feliz na sua nova caminhada. Foram quase 10 anos do teu lado, 10 anos de alegria, bom futebol, vitorias, derrotas e momentos maravilhosos! Aprendi muito com vc, sua dedicação é a coisa mais bizarra q eu vi em um atleta. Tudo de bom pra vc e sua linda familia! Vou sentir saudades das nossas resenhas antes dos jogos quando vc acertava o resultados e antes das finais nos tranquilizava com tua experiência e o carinho com os mais jovens! Tenho orgulho de ter jogado contigo nao por que VOCE SEJA O MAIOR JOGADOR DA P#RR% TODA e sim pela pessoa q você é!!! quando eu parar de jogar vou sentar no bar tomar uma cerveja e vou contar vaaarias historias e mostrar todas as nossas fotos ? Ja ja tamo junto de novo ??? #M12 ??
A post shared by Marcelo Vieira Jr. (@marcelotwelve) on
“It was almost 10 years by your side, 10 years of joy, good football, victories, defeats and wonderful moments!
“I learned a lot from you, your dedication is the most freakish things I’ve seen in an athlete.
“I will miss our talks before the games when you got the results right and before the finals reassured us with your experience and the love you gave the younger ones!
“I’m proud to have played with you, not because you are the best player but because of who you are.
“When I stop playing, I’ll sit at the bar and have a beer and tell stories and show all our photos.”