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Marcelo ban reduced to one match after Real Madrid appeal

The Spanish Football Association (RFEF) appeals committee on Thursday downgraded Marcelo's two-match ban for kicking Levante's Jefferson Lerma to one match.

The Brazilian will only miss the match on Sunday against Real Sociedad, and will be available to return again next Wednesday for a La Liga match against Betis.

The news came hours after a news conference with Marcelo and Madrid announcing that he had added another two years to his contract, previously due to expire in 2020. Real Madrid had filed an appeal on Wednesday.

Marcelo, 29, has won 17 trophies since joining from Fluminense in January 2007, including four La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues. He has scored 28 goals in 408 appearances with Real.

He was dismissed in the 1-1 draw after kicking out at midfielder Lerma as the pair tussled on the ground following a challenge.

Speaking at a news conference after Real announced Marcelo had put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension to remain at the Bernabeu stadium until June 2022, the Brazil international also confessed that defending current Paris Saint-Germain star and former Barcelona forward Neymar has been the most challenging assignment in his career.

Marcelo said: "The trickiest opponent I have faced, one who was has been a real handful for me has been Neymar, whom I play with in the national team."

The 29-year-old is the longest-serving member in the team after Real captain Sergio Ramos.

Marcelo, who arrived to the Bernabeu stadium in January 2007 from Fluminense, 30 months before Cristiano Ronaldo joined from Manchester United, did not hesitate to name the Portugal captain as the best player he has played with in his career.

"I've played with great players like Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Ruud van Nistelrooy ...," Marcelo said. "I've played against and alongside some exceptional players, but I would say that Cristiano is the most complete player I have seen.

"I've been training with him for so long now, providing him with passes and celebrating goals that I stick with Cristiano [Ronaldo].

"I am really proud to be part of the history of Real Madrid," Marcelo said. "I am happy and feel truly blessed to be at such a great club. It feels incredible to have spent ten years here knowing that I have another five ahead of me. It is a real dream come true and both my family and I are really pleased.

"I want to give my absolute all to help the club over the next five years and hope that it will not be the end. It is difficult to talk about the future.

"I have goals that I want to reach. I always want to improve and learn, I'd love to win the World Cup with Brazil. It will be difficult, but I believe we are on the right track."

Marcelo has praised the work done by coach Zinedine Zidane since he took the helm of the team in January 2016. Under, Zidane, Real won La Liga last season for the first time since 2012 and became the only club to successfully defend the Champions League trophy.

"Zidane is the best coach I have worked under," Marcelo said. "With just one look from him I know what to do, as do many other players. In a short period, he was able to bring together a group full of big names and gel us together, make us a team. That is no mean feat."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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