Meet Marcus Thuram, the son French World Cup winner Lilian who is making a name for himself at Borussia Monchengladbach.
|Full Name:||Marcus Lilian Thuram-Ulien|
|Born:||6 August 1997|
|Height:||1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|Clubs:||Sochaux, Guingamp, Borussia Monchengladbach|
|National team:||France (U-21 level)|
The name Thuram is one that already commands respect in football through Lilian, who tasted World Cup and European glory with France. He is considered one of the greatest right-backs in history. For anyone, this is a huge shadow to escape from.
Being the son of a world champion, however, hasn’t troubled Marcus. If anything, it’s driven him forward. The youngster is out to build his own legacy and is gradually doing so. He first made headlines in January 2019 by scoring the penalty for Guingamp that eliminated Paris Saint-Germain from the Coupe de la Ligue. It ended the Parisians’ six-year unbeaten run in the competition.
Over a year later, Thuram is now starring in the Bundesliga. His performances have not only won him three Rookie of the Month awards, but have helped Gladbach enter the top-four. Who knows? With a little luck, a surprise league title may come their way.
Unlike his father, the 22-year-old plays as a centre-forward. His signature goal celebrations, meanwhile, have become a hit in Germany. They involve him placing a jersey, usually his own one, over the corner flag.
So just who is Marcus Thuram? And does he have what it takes to become the next great French hope? Here on Ronaldo.com, we give you everything there is to know about him.
The Italian-born Frenchman made his professional debut in March 2015 for Sochaux at 17. He made a further 36 appearances in Ligue 2 over the next two seasons, starting 14 times. His only goal for Les Lionceaux came in a 3-1 defeat to Tours on April 2017.
Despite a low-key start, Marcus Thuram graduated to Ligue 1 later that year when Guingamp signed him for €600k. Las Costarmoricains provided him what Sochaux couldn’t – regular opportunities.
Thuram started 20 times in his 32 league appearances in 2017/18, managing three goals and assists. Then came the 2018/19 campaign. This was when the forward made a name for himself.
Scoring that winning-penalty against PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-finals in January 2019 propelled him to the spotlight. He was again on the target in the semi-finals, scoring the decisive equaliser against AS Monaco. Guingamp proceeded to win 7-6 on penalties to book a spot in the final.
Although the season ended in heartbreak for Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side. Not only did they finish bottom of Ligue 1, but Strasbourg also defeated them on penalties in the Coupe de la Ligue final after finishing goalless. It was a grim end to Thuram’s time in Guingamp.
The France U-21 international did enough to impress clubs across Europe, though. He scored nine of Guingamp’s 28 league goals, representing 32% of the team’s total. Therefore, Borussia Monchengladbach signed him for €9m in July 2019 on a four-year deal.
Thuram’s stock has since risen exponentially in the Bundesliga. Aside from three Rookie of the Month awards, he’s fitted into Marco Rose’s system seamlessly. The Gladbach boss has made great use of his versatility, frequently playing him down the left-wing and as a centre-forward.
The highlights of Thuram’s debut campaign include the dramatic later winner against AS Roma in the Europa League and assisting Ramy Bensebaini’s injury-time winner against title rivals Bayern Munich.
Despite being eligible to play for Italy and Guadeloupe, Marcus Thuram always had his heart set on France.
The forward has played for Les Bleus across four international tournaments at youth level. His biggest moment was winning the European U-19 Championship in 2016. He also competed in the U-20 World Cup in 2017, helping France reach the last-16.
Thuram’s last appearance in the famous blue jersey was in the 2019 European U-21 Championship. Despite his best efforts, France suffered a semi-final exit. Eventual winners Spain thrashed them 4-1 in Italy.
Nonetheless, Thuram has given a good account of himself and is on Didier Deschamps’ radar.
“He is developing well, his club is at the top in Germany,” said the France boss.
“That’s very interesting. He plays in various positions, often as the second centre forward. He’s definitely one of the players we’re following.”
Position and playing style
Marcus Thuram has become a crucial element in Marco Rose’s system, capable of playing down the left-wing in a 4-3-3 formation and as a second striker in a 4-3-1-2. In his 33 appearances, he’s played in the latter role 18 times. That outweighs the 13 games down the left flank.
The Frenchman thrives in one-on-one situations in the penalty zone. He often tries to isolate his marker and then come right at him once the ball is in his possession. It makes him quite a tricky foe.
Aside from some important goals this season, Thuram has made some clever runs in games. They’ve helped open up space for his teammates, resulting in more opportunities. While eight assists justify his ability to provide accurate deliveries.
According to WhoScored stats, Thuram is averaging 2.3 successful dribbles-per-game. That’s the highest of the entire Gladbach squad. He uses his quick feet and strength to great effect, enabling him to force his way into the box. It puts him in an ideal position to either shot or assist a teammate.
“I believe that Marcus is far from the end of his development. There’s a lot more to come from him,” said Rose.
“Marcus is a footballer who benefits greatly from his physique and stature. Nevertheless, he’s also a fine technician, who can always deal with situations in tight spaces.”
The 22-year-old also tallied a respectable 1.8 shots and 4.8 aerial duels won every match. While his partnership with compatriot Alassane Plea upfront seems to be growing stronger.
If he keeps progressing this way, Marcus will move even further away from his father’s shadow and become a big-name in his own right.