Real Madrid left-back Marcelo has shown his support for Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli by labelling the Italian international a magnificent player.
The former AC Milan striker has struggled since joining the Reds last summer, scoring just two League Cup goals and failing to impress in the Premier League.
He came under heavy criticism during the Reds clash with Real Madrid two weeks ago for swapping shirts with Pepe at half-time. He was subsequently hauled off by his boss and panned in the media.
A lack of goals has been an underlying problem for the Merseysiders this season, and they go in to the clash in the Spanish capital relying on Balotelli in the absence of the injured Daniel Sturridge.
While many have predicted yet another fruitless night for the Italian, Madrid’s Brazilian star Marcelo warned his side of the striker’s ability and showed his support in the pre-match press conference.
“He’s a magnificent player, there’s no doubt about that. We don’t fear him but we do have great respect for him,", he is quoted as saying by Spanish publication AS.
Balotelli has played a total of 42 Champions League and Europa League games so far in his career, scoring 13 goals in the process.
The Reds are currently level on points with both Basel and Ludogerets in their Champions League group as the trio eye that second spot and qualification for the knockout rounds.