21 Defender PSG Brazil
Paris Saint-Germain hardly unearthed a hidden gem when they spent big on AS Roma’s Marquinhos in 2013. They knew what they were getting: a potentially world class centre back, a role into which Marquinhos has continued to grow since moving to the French capital.
His partnership with compatriot Thiago Silva is a tremendous credit to them both and has helped PSG secure the last two Ligue 1 championships. It’s a four-legged unit that’s progressed very nicely indeed in 2015, Marquinhos on the left of the two and working with Maxwell, the experienced full back who succeeded in ousting Lucas Digne on the flank.
2015 has been…
Business as usual. PSG are often rampant and occasionally prone to a freakish vulnerability, both of which are built on a bedrock largely formed of the aforementioned defensive unit, rounded out by Serge Aurier at right back. Marquinhos is capable of a mistake, as you’d expect.
They’re lapses, really, and more often than not they’re caused by a decision to follow his defensive instincts and defend the ball when a bigger threat is lurking closer to him. For a man of such inexperience these are difficult calls in tricky spots, but the decisions have to be correct. They usually are.
Before Marquinhos picked up the injury that’s kept him out for a portion of this autumn he was effectively in a Silva-flanking jobshare with yet another Brazilian, David Luiz, but it’s Marquinhos who works best with the former Seleção skipper. He’s calm and confident on the ball, the very archetype of an elegant ball-playing defender, and he plays a simple game with the extraordinary talent in front of him in the PSG midfield.
Marquinhos is dynamic off the ball too, never asleep and always on his toes. The nature of playing in the defence of such a dominant side means that he often has spells in which there’s no defending to do, so he needs to have excellent concentration, a side of his game that’s good but will get even better.
He’s got a good nose for when to aggressively break from the defensive line and attack the ball, another aspect of judgement that’s bound to improve. He’s got nous too; he’s already not averse to a cheeky nudge in the back under a high ball. When he’s caught they look naïve but when he gets away with them it’s savvy and streetwise. It was ever thus.
Hardly a week goes by without Marquinhos’ future being subject to speculation. He’s been linked by the media to Manchester United for much of this year, with the January window a particular focus, and in April he stated that he’s happy at PSG with United again said to be interested.
In September it was Chelsea whose eye he’d caught once more. Reports of a possible €42m move to Stamford Bridge were met with words of approval from former Brazilian Blues defender Alex. PSG are a force in their own right but unless there can be year upon year of smoke without fire, Marquinhos seems destined to make a move at some point in the medium-term. There’s not a lot of ‘up’ from PSG but you can bet he’ll find it.
Marquinhos is by no means the finished article. He is, however, a raw defender in the best mould possible. The rough edges, the little moments when a tougher mind might have been more cynical, they will come to him. Many more international caps will follow. That he has only nine would be surprising if 21st Century Brazil didn’t have a well deserved reputation for selection blindspots.
C Exciting, elegant and under-capped
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