October 11, 2017
A day unlike any other: Marlon
Arriving at the end of the summer, Marlon Santos has seen a change of model in the capital of the Côte d’Azur. Talkative, smiley, the Brazilian (22 years old) voluntarily took the time to retrace his life so far. And in particular, like an echo to the song from the Nice fans, to retrace “the days unlike any others” that have been part of his story.
Marlon, do you remember the day when you discovered football?
Of course! I was 6 years old, my dad sent me to play for the club in the city of Bangu, in the state of Rio.
… The day when you knew that you were going to make it your profession?
At 14 years old, not before. From 6 until 14, it was just a game. Well, it continues to be so, but now, there are more responsibilities. In a more general manner, I love sport, especially beach volleyball and basketball. My models? In football, my reference point is Thiago Silva (the captain of PSG), in volleyball, a Brazilian called Giba. And in basketball, Lebron James and Michael Jordan.
… The day when you made your first professional appearance?
Of course! It was Fluminense – San Paolo, at the Maracana (22 May 2014, Editor’s note), I was sat on the bench. The coach asked several players to go and warm-up, I didn’t go. And then a defender got injured, I got up, poured water all over me, I came on and got warmed up…on the pitch. Everything went on from there. At that moment, it was 2-2 and, in the end, we won (5-2). On the other side, they had Luis Fabiano, Pato, Rogerio Ceni, Ganso… It’s an unforgettable moment.
“My dream: to win the Champions League and the World Cup”
… The day when you decided to become a central defender?
From 6 until 10 years old, I was an attacking midfielder. Then, from 10 until 14, I played at number 6, in Seri’s role. I stayed there until I was 17 years old, and then I became a centre-back. I didn’t want to move away from the defensive midfield position, but my coach at Fluminense, Bruno Petri, told me that if I stayed there, I would become a normal player, whereas if I was a defender, I would have more chances of becoming a great player. That opened my eyes, I played in a competition in that role and I was… the top-scorer, only scoring penalties. And I haven’t moved since.
… The day when you first wore the shirt of the national team?
I was 19 years old, it was in a competition in China that we won with the Under 20s. Then we went to South America and we lost a tournament. Then we played in the U20 World Cup and we finished 2nd. My generation? Andres Pereira from Valencia, Malcolm from Bordeaux, Gabriel Jesus from City, Danilo de Braga, Kennedy, from Chelsea, Gabigol from Benfica (ex-Inter), Jorge from Monaco...
… The day when you signed for Barça?
It was a dream moment. I thank God for everything, but to arrive there was a very special moment. I was signing for one of the best teams in the world. The first year, I was very happy. Messi, Neymar, Suarez... These are extraordinary players who always gave me advice, even if I suffered when playing against them in training (laughs). I learnt a lot with them, and also with the others.
What is the day on which you would say to yourself that your sporting dream has been achieved?
From a team point of view, I would say that it would be the day when I win the Champions League and the World Cup. And on a more personal level, by working very hard with the blessing of God, the day when I will be one of the best defenders in the world.