Marcus Thuram, on his knees in tribute to George Floyd after scoring a goal for Union Berlin.POOL / Reuters
When Marcus Thuram started at the Barcelona quarry, at the age of nine, the coach saw him so tall and so strong that he placed him central.
A decision that angered his father, Lilian Thuram, who had just signed precisely because of the Barça team's rear.
"You will not play defense, but forward," shouted his father.
And so it happened.
That was the first and last time that young Tikus, as he is known in his circle, acted in the rear.
Since then, he has made progress - and a lot lately - as an attacker, asserting his 1.92 size and the technique of someone who learned to tame the ball in the hallway at home.
He will be one of the threats that await Madrid this Tuesday (21.00, Movistar Champions League) at Borussia-Park against Mönchengladbach.
A committed date for the whites after losing in the premiere against Shakhtar.
That same night, the Germans drew against Inter (2-2), in a duel in which Thuram caused the 1-1 penalty and which hours before left an unusual image: the footballer himself searching on Google on the phone to prove his identity at the entrance to San Siro because he had forgotten his documentation.
“As footballers, they see us and we are the right people to preach the word.
I'm proud of what my father does, "he says about racism
This 23-year-old Frenchman, born in Parma (Italy) 11 months before his father was proclaimed world champion in 1998, bears the mark of his father beyond his surname.
Also in the name.
Marcus was the family's choice as a tribute to Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican who was a key figure in the fight for the rights of black citizens in the early 20th century.
And the Gladbach attacker, like Lilian Thuram, a great activist, does not shy away from that battle.
“As footballers, they see us and we are the right people to speak and preach the word.
I am proud of what my father does to change things, "he said recently.
Last May, amidst the wave of protests over the death of the American George Floyd when he was in police custody, he left proof of this by kneeling after marking the Union Berlin as a sign of tribute to the deceased and protesting what happened.
Apart from this social conscience, the figure of his father also plans on his development on the lawn.
"If you look at his career, you realize Lilian's involvement in his career," warns Alain Valnegri, international football commentator at Movistar and an expert on the French League, where the attacker started after his brief experience at Barcelona, from the one that the footballer himself keeps few memories due to his young age.
“First he went to Sochaux, which has a very good quarry;
then to Guingamp, where he knew he would have minutes;
and now he's at the Gladbach, with a starring role.
And if you look at his brother Khéphren [19-year-old pivot], the same.
He plays for Nice, which is committed to young people ”, he analyzes.
His physical power, shot and overflow propelled his career in Germany
“For me, Marcus is destined for a
It already sounded for Liverpool this summer ”, predicts Valnegri.
“He has overflow, shooting, enormous power, he's a dribbler and moves well in tight spaces.
He has always been a left winger, but in Germany he has started to lag behind the striker, and coming from the second row is very dangerous ”, he analyzes.
“He has improved a lot in the definition, although he still lacks the badness of the great forwards.
And he must also progress in the passing game.
With that physical power, he could be dominant and allow him to act as an offensive terminal, Lukaku style ”, he adds.
A pending issue that, as the player himself has revealed, has cost him some reprimand from his father.
Tikus numbers describe an upward curve.
From the Sochaux quarry he jumped in 2017 to Guingamp for 600,000 euros.
There he went from four goals in his first season to 13 in the second.
A stage of maturation not without crisis.
As he has admitted, it was difficult for him to take football seriously and one day the coach, Antoine Kombouaré, called him to chapter in his office.
The talk had an effect and in 2019 he was promoted to the Bundesliga in exchange for nine million.
There he met Marco Rose, a coach from the
with whom he climbed last season to top scorer (14) and second-highest assistant (9) of the team.
His father, defender Lilian, with whom he talks and analyzes himself after each game, keeps an eye on the trajectory of forward Marcus.
One day they asked him what it is like to be the son of a legend, and the young man solved the topic with an idea.
“I don't see my father as a legend, but as a father.
If you were with Beyoncé, you would not see her as a legend, but as your girlfriend, "he replied.