The Brazilian says he felt nerves like he had never before prior to Los Blancos’ record-breaking final win.
Real Madrid defender Marcelo has revealed the intense anxiety he felt before playing Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2018.
The left-back started and played the full 90 minutes as Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners, courtesy of two Loris Karius howlers and a Gareth Bale overhead kick.
However, he explains how fearful he felt in the build-up to the game, experiencing an anxiety he had never before suffered with.
“The pressure was the most intense before the Liverpool final,” Marcelo told The Players’ Tribune.
“Maybe people will think that has been strange. We had already won two trophies in a row. Everybody on the outside wanted Liverpool to win. So what’s the problem?
“Well, when you have a chance to make history, you feel that weight. But for some reason, I was really feeling it. I had never had such intense anxiety before, so I didn’t know what was happening. I thought about calling for the doctor, but I was worried that he wouldn’t let me play.
“And I had to play, 100 per cent. I had to prove something to myself.
“It felt like I had something stuck in my chest. This huge pressure. I am not talking about nerves. Nerves are normal in football. This was something different. I am telling you, brother, it felt like I was suffocating.
“Everything had started the night before the final. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking only of the match.
“A little bit of nerves has been normal in football. I don’t care who you are, if you’re not feeling anxious before playing in a final, you’re not a real person. You’re just trying not to s**t your pants. It’s the truth, brother!
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“So I was sitting at my locker, struggling to breathe, and I thought to myself, ‘How many kids in the world play round ball? How many of them dream of playing in a Champions League final? Millions. Calm yourself. Lace up your boots, brother.’
“I knew that if I could just make it out to the pitch, I would be okay. For me, nothing bad can happen on a football pitch. You could be growing up in chaos, everything could be going crazy around you, but if you have a round ball at your feet, you stop thinking. Everything has been quiet, peaceful.
“When I finally stepped onto the grass, I was still having trouble breathing, and I thought, ‘If I have to die out here tonight, f*ck it. I’ll die.’”