Marcelo, struggling from a lower back injury, has pulled out of Brazil’s Copa America squad.
Real Madrid announced Saturday that Marcelo was suffering from acute sciatic pain, which could involve the pinching of the sciatic nerve, a potentially painful injury that could take some time to heal.
As a result, he was replaced on the Brazil squad by 21-year-old Geferson, who plays left-back for Brazilian giants Internacional and just made his senior debut in February, owning just four club appearances thus far. It will be Geferson’s first national team camp and would be his international debut should he make an appearance.
It’s unclear when Marcelo suffered the injury. The 27-year-old played the full 90 minute in Real Madrid’s final two La Liga matches, even captaining the side against Espanyol a week from the end of the season. He had missed just one league match since February 7, when he was an unused substitute April 29 against Almeira. He also missed the second leg of Real Madrid’s Champions League quarterfinal matchup against Atletico Madrid due to yellow card suspension.
Geferson will have big shoes to fill. Marcelo has emerged as one of the best left-backs in the world, and has amassed 39 caps for his country thus far, scoring four goals. Thankfully for the youngster, he can follow in the footsteps of the man he is replacing. The Brazilian team has a history of taking young, Brazilian league talent and catapulting them onto the world stage. Marcelo was with Fluminense when he made his debut for the national team in 2006, scoring on debut in a friendly against Wales at White Hart Lane, and he found himself shipped off to the Bernabeu just five months later.