For the second season in a row, Real Madrid have hosted an emotional tribute to bid farewell to their captain. Last season they said goodbye to Sergio Ramos, and this season Marcelo was the one who spoke tearfully on the podium in a ceremony organised by the club at Real Madrid City. The departure of these much-loved and highly decorated veterans clearly signals a changing of the guard at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Both players have played very important roles at Real Madrid for more than a decade, but in their final season with the club, they played limited minutes while making way for a new generation of talent.

Marcelo's final act as captain was to lead the club during their celebrations after winning their 14th UEFA Champions League trophy. The Brazilian was visibly emotional as he ran to the pitch to hug his teammates, after a final against Liverpool that he watched from the bench.

Marcelo's contract expires on June 30, and it will no longer be renewed much like Ramos last year. Like his predecessor, Marcelo is not yet ready to retire. During his farewell ceremony, the 34-year-old left-back said: "I will not retire, not now. I feel I can still play. Facing Real Madrid? It will not be a problem. I am a big Madridista but I am also a big professional."

He has not revealed his plan for the future, but the club has already been making moves that clearly indicate that they have the framework in place for the future. Last week, Los Blancos announced the signing of midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni for a whopping six seasons.

At 22-years-old, Tchouameni lines up perfectly alongside fellow midfield youngsters Fede Valverde, 23, and recent arrival Eduardo Camavinga, 19.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti has relied heavily on Valverde this season, with Camavinga slowly earning his stripes and proving his quality whenever he was brought in from the bench.

There is no denying the fact that the much-hailed trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are looking straight at their future replacements. This trio has won numerous titles between them, but age is creeping up and with such long seasons, they will need to think about a seamless transition wherein they can be rested without leaving the club feeling like one leg is missing. In this regard, the next season will need to become somewhat of a mentoring period.

This has proven to be effective between striker Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, who has improved by leaps and bounds after being taken under the wing of the Frenchman.

Modric, 36, has just renewed for another year, with Kroos, 32, also under contract until the summer of 2023. The latter has publicly stated that he wants to see how the coming season pans out before he commits to an extension. The younger Casemiro, 30, still has until 2025.

Either way, the next one or two seasons will be crucial for the younger players to learn from the club's veterans. Ancelotti will have a crucial role in the process, with the Italian holding the ability to decide how to make a seamless transition.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid celebrate winning the Champions League Final VINCENT WEST/Reuters