May 14, 2021

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Champions League: Marquinhos, exemplary captain of Paris-Saint-Germain

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No room for doubt. Even if it is necessary to overthrow a mountain, find the solution of a masterful puzzle. Captain Marquinhos’ message was clear, barely finished the semi-final first leg of the Champions League at the Parc des Princes and swallowed up the disappointment of a more than infuriating defeat (1-2) against Manchester City: heading for the return match this Tuesday, May 4, and heartily: “You have to have the mentality and the desire to give everything you need to pass”.

→ ANALYSIS. Champions League semi-final: PSG collapses and loses

Captain Flame, the Brazilian defender of Paris-Saint-Germain, and rather twice than one. History to illustrate the required pace, he again distinguished himself as a decisive scorer this Saturday against Lens in the French league (2-1 for the Parisians). Again with a helmet blow on a corner, as against Manchester City a few days earlier. On a cloud, Marquinhos. At the peak of his art, at 26, without fanfare, just a quiet determination, in the style of the good guy.

In the shadow of the big brother

He has always done only that: cut his way, without noise but without deviating an inch. The trajectory may seem ideal, well in the line of the gifted Brazilian ball who takes advantage of the local pot to cook a gastronomic destiny. So yes, in his modest family in São Paulo, we love football and we actually stick a ball in his feet, barely can he walk, the little “Marqui”. Except that it is his four-year-old brother, Luan, who rather concentrates all the attention, and to whom we lend the most talent.

The big brother advances, and Marquinhos follows in his footsteps, among the young people of the Corinthians from the age of 8. It grows well, but in Luan’s shadow. The latter is even on the verge of launching a professional career, at 18, with São Paulo FC, rival club of the Corinthians. But he can not stand the pressure, and finally puts away the crampons. For the family, a trauma. There remains “Marqui”, who hangs on. We then refer to him, and he accepts without hesitation the weight of family hopes. ” Good boy “, always says his grandmother, his most loyal supporter.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola in constant search

In 2012, he hit the mark when he joined the professional workforce of the Corinthians. But he can see that we do not necessarily believe in his abilities, judging him a bit too thin to please the Brazilian fashion of the time strong central defenders who elbows in the penalty areas. He therefore decides to try the European adventure. He arrives in Rome, without his family. “My family and God, that’s all my strength, that’s all I have”, he admits. He took refuge in work, and in barely a year, he gained a good reputation, summed up by the nickname given to him by supporters: the “Monument”.

Centerpiece at PSG

It prevents. His purchase for more than 31 million euros by PSG in the summer of 2013 surprises more than one. Who is this 19 year old kid? Answer for his first official match in mid-September, in the Champions League against Olympiakos. Corner, head, goal, 4-1 for PSG, and Marquinhos who immediately exists. The rest is, however, a story of patience. At PSG, there are people in defense, and it is only during the 2016-2017 season that he wins alongside his compatriot and captain Thiago Silva. In his way. Without wave.

Off the pitch, he’s just running out of time. Very present on social networks, especially since her marriage in 2016 to Carol, a Brazilian singer. Bling-bling? Far from it. His life is on Instagram, he is rich (more than 14 million euros in annual salary) but above all appears as a fairly simple guy who loves video games, friends and always his own. The whole family clan joined him in Paris. The now father of two children undoubtedly draws on this stability.

On the ground, it becomes indisputable. “He is very strong in all positions, he is an incredible player who always wants to improve”, praised Thomas Tuchel, his previous coach at PSG, who in 2020 entrusted him with the captain’s armband. He does the job in his own way. He’s not the type to bark at his troops. But he still says things. Calmly. Even the stars Mbappé and Neymar with floating defensive replacements.

Arriving at the club in January 2021, coach Mauricio Pochettino keeps him in office. Marquinhos honors the mark of trust. He now dares to comment on its value: “I am a great observer and I analyze situations well. For the rest, he repeats over and over that everything is a question “State of mind”. He would like it better in some of his teammates. So show him the example. He loves Paris, he says so. On contract until June 2024, he claims to be ready to stay his entire career. If PSG has a soul, it should not turn far from him.

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PSG, outside, again?

Of course, there are the statistics. After their setback in the first leg (1-2), the Parisians would only have a 7% chance of reaching the final. But it was on the outside that they built their previous success in their European campaign this year, winning 4-1 in Barcelona on February 16, then 3-2 in Munich on April 7. In the group phase, they also went to look for
qualification on the lawn of Manchester United (3-1) on December 2, 2020. So, as usual this season?

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