Two months after signing for the club in an eye-watering €32m deal from AS Roma, centre-back Marquinhos finally made his debut in the 4-1 victory away to Olympiakos on Tuesday night.
His inclusion was the biggest draw in terms of Laurent Blanc’s selection in which he had to shuffle his pack following the departure of Mamadou Sakho to Liverpool and Alex’s injury which he picked up at Bordeaux. It would have been easier for him to bring in veteran Zoumana Camara instead and played it safe. Instead he instilled the trust in the teenage prodigy who has not had the most settled of starts to his new life in Paris due to a few niggly injury problems.
Nevertheless, making his bow in a Parisien shirt as well as in the Champions League for the very first time he had a steady debut overall. In the early sparring with the Greeks he enjoyed a lot of the ball as Les Parisiens tried to keep possession at the back to try and dampen the rapturous atmosphere from The Reds support. Alongside his compatriot Thiago Silva he showed imitations of his older peer with good ball control, awareness and was not afraid to come forward. However, as Olympiakos began to turn the screw and enjoyed the better openings, he was put under the cosh at times along with the rest of his teammates.
It is not harsh to say that he could have done better to prevent Vladimir Weiss’ equaliser in the 25th minute. He easily sold himself, allowing the Slovakian to nutmeg him with ease before fooling Silva to slot home. In that kind of situation you would have felt Marquinhos would have been in control. Standing one on one with the attacker he should have stood firmer. But, this was the only real flaw he sustained all game.
After the interval he was able to relax a whole lot more as we controlled the game. Very rarely did the Greek outfit pose any danger in the final third as we took the game by the scruff of the neck to take the lead. This then culminated in Marquinhos rounding off a solid debut with a goal in the dying embers. Thiago Motta’s corner came in and he eluded his marker to calmly head home to his obvious delight. Just like Thiago Silva last season against Dynamo Kiev, he marked his PSG bow with a goal.
The signs are promising for this young man. All in all he showed some of the attributes that resulted in him being bought to the Parc des Princes for such a hefty sum. Roma fans will vouch at how good this kid can be so having a debut victory with a goal to match will do his confidence the world of good. It was imperative to get off to a good start after his woes with fitness but he completed the 90 which was a good sign.
He stands in good stead to start at the weekend at home to Monaco. With Alex recovering from a thigh strain it may be too soon for the big man to return. That being said if Marquinhos is to come up against Radamel Falcao on Sunday, he is relishing the prospect; “When I play against Falcao on Sunday, I will face an opponent who will make me grow as a player”.
With an attitude like that he will go far.