Interview

Thuram: dad and destiny

The weight of expectation can lie heavy on the shoulders of a young footballer with a father who has achieved everything in the game. But for Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram, whose team face Manchester City tonight, the lessons learned as a kid are shaping his success out on the pitch

WORDS Ian Holyman

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

Thuram: dad and destiny
Interview

Thuram: dad and destiny

The weight of expectation can lie heavy on the shoulders of a young footballer with a father who has achieved everything in the game. But for Borussia Mönchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram, whose team face Manchester City tonight, the lessons learned as a kid are shaping his success out on the pitch

WORDS Ian Holyman

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You were ten years old when you joined Olympique de Neuilly; what motivated you at the time?

At the start, part of me wanted to be like my dad. Until I was 15, 16, my mindset was to enjoy myself and to see football as just a game. When I joined Sochaux’s academy, I really understood the importance of the result behind the enjoyment.

Both you and your brother Képhren have become professional footballers, following in your dad’s footsteps. How did your dad help you both?

We have a dad who already knew how to become a professional footballer. When he understood that that’s what we wanted to do, he really gave us all of his knowledge and all of his experience so that we would save some time and achieve our aims.

Does he still help you now?

Yes, after every game I call him and we go through things. He tells me what I did well and the things I didn’t do well. When I was younger he really focused on the importance of us enjoying our football – and said that we’d later come to realise that the results were important for ourselves. When we were little, what he really wanted was for us to have fun, feel that freedom and express ourselves. Now that I’m a professional he tells me that every time I take to the pitch, I must never forget the child I was. That it’s what I wanted to be from a young age, that it’s a real pleasure to be a professional footballer and that I have to do everything to be the best I can be.

Marcus Thuram during the first leg against City (top); dad Lilian in 2003, with Marcus’s favourite player (above)


Did it feel like it was your destiny to become a footballer? We’re not trying to say that it’s because you’re Lilian Thuram’s son, because there are loads of footballers whose sons aren’t professionals...

[Laughs] I know. No, I never believed that it was my destiny to become a footballer. I just knew that football was what I loved most in the whole world and that I’d do absolutely everything to succeed in becoming a professional.

Who were your idols when you were growing up?

I had loads. My first idol was Ronaldo, the Brazilian. Then it was Ronaldinho. Then there was Thierry Henry, who is still my idol. I idolised Zlatan Ibrahimović; I idolised Cristiano Ronaldo later on. So yeah, they’re fantastic players who each inspired me in their own way to be stronger.

Was there anything about their individual playing styles that you tried to fit into your own game?

With Thierry Henry it was the idea of being really sure of yourself on the pitch; being very cold, having a killer instinct. With Ibrahimović it was the idea of imposing yourself physically on your opponents and, given that we’re lucky enough to be big and pretty strong, using your size to your advantage. Then there are players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Ronaldinho who are very inventive and creative, who like one-on-ones, going forward and creating chances. If you were to fuse all those players together you’d get the Brazilian Ronaldo, who is the best out of all of them.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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