Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba have been setting the standard for attacker-fullback combination over the last couple of seasons, but with a little work, there’s a Real Madrid pairing that could rival the Barcelona duo soon.
Left-back Marcelo set up Gareth Bale – who plays a similar role to Messi, starting on the right but with the freedom to roam – for two goals during Madrid’s FIFA Club World Cup semi-final win over Kashima Antlers on Thursday.
Oddly, for a full-back valued for his attacking input, it was Marcelo’s first game with two assists since May. That was in the Champions League final, as Los Blancos beat Liverpool 3-1 to lift the trophy for an unprecedented third straight season.
The recipient of his two assists on that night? Also Bale, who scored one of the greatest goals in the competition’s history when he converted a bicycle kick from a Marcelo cross in the second half, then added a third after picking up a pass from the left-back and letting loose with a fierce 30-yard shot.
Clearly, Marcelo and Bale have a connection. If Madrid can harness it – starting with the Club World Cup final on Saturday – maybe they can reach the same heights as their Barca rivals.
2 - Marcelo Vieira has made two assists in the same game for Real Madrid for the first time since May 2018 against Liverpool in the Champions League final and all four assists ended in Gareth Bale’s goals. Connection. pic.twitter.com/jsyrVLcW1A— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 19, 2018
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