Real present Marcelo as face of the future
November 15, 2006 6:34pm CST
MADRID, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Real Madrid officially presented their Brazilian defender Marcelo on Wednesday as an important signing for the club's future success. The 18-year-old international, who has joined from Fluminense until 2012, is seen as a long-term replacement for compatriot Roberto Carlos at left back. "He is strong in defence and very quick in attack which is why sports director Predrag Mijatovic was keen to sign him for Real," said club president Ramon Calderon. "He is the first part of our project for the future which will see us signing quality young players that will help to put us back on the road to success. "It is the board's plan to try and combine young players with experienced ones and to build on their contrasting qualities." Marcelo said he was unfazed by the prospect of possibly having to start his career with Real in the youth ranks. Some reports have suggested that Marcelo may be asked to play with Real Madrid Castilla, who are in the Spanish second division, until June to help ease his adaptation to European football. "I have come here to help Real Madrid. I have come here to work hard and will work wherever they ask me to," Marcelo told a news conference. Real are also being linked with moves for Boca Juniors' 20-year-old midfielder Fernando Gago and River Plate's 18-year-old forward Gonzalo Higuain. In a later interview with radio station Onda Madrid, Calderon said personal terms had been agreed with the two players. "Both players have reached agreements with us. The question is whether they will come in January or June. We hope it will be January and so do they," Calderon said. "With all the new signings we will have a very competitive team. Next year out of a squad of 22 we will have 14 players under 25."