The son of World Cup winner Lilian, Marcus Thuram has made waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
The son of World Cup winner Lilian, Marcus Thuram has made waves at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Marcus Thuram: Who is the Borussia Mönchengladbach and France striker with a World Cup-winning dad?


The son of a FIFA World Cup winner, Marcus Thuram has penned his own story in the Bundesliga and beyond during a four-year stay with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Ahead of his summer 2023 move to pastures new, sheds some light on the French forward who plays nothing like his father...

Stats correct as of 24 June 2023

Marcus Thuram

Age: 25 (born 6 August 1997)
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Position: Striker/winger
Country: France (10 caps)

Key stats

Making his professional debut for Sochaux at the age of 17, it took Thuram just a few months to claim the first silverware of his career. He scored the second goal in a 2-0 final win over Lyon at the Stade de France as Sochaux lifted the 2015 Coupe Gamberdella – France's national U19 cup competition.

Watch: Marcus Thuram making his own name

After two further years in the French second tier, Thuram joined Guingamp in 2017, scoring his maiden Ligue 1 goal – once again against Lyon – on just his second start in the league. While the 2017/18 season was about finding his feet in the top flight, 2018/19 saw him star despite Guingamp's struggles. They would finish bottom of the league but Thuram made a name for himself with nine goals, representing almost a third of his team’s total.

Thuram is the son of France legend Lilian Thuram. The most capped player in the history of les Bleus until 2022 - when Hugo Lloris surpassed his total of 142 caps - Lilian won the 1998 World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000 in a career that saw him regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation. It's a large shadow to step out of, but Marcus began to do so in January 2019 when he made headlines in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final. Minutes after he missed a penalty against Paris Saint-Germain, Guingamp fell behind. Thuram was unperturbed and stepped up from the spot again in the 93rd minute to inflict PSG’s first defeat in the competition for over six years. Guingamp went on to reach the final of the tournament, but were beaten on penalties by Strasbourg.

He has also featured in three international tournaments for France at youth level and played eight matches across the UEFA European U19 Championship in 2015 and 2016, lifting the trophy in the latter edition. He then competed at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2017, scoring one goal in his four appearances before featuring at the European Under-21 Championship in 2019.

Thuram's upward career trajectory has continued apace at Gladbach. The forward formed part of a new-look frontline alongside Alassane Plea and Breel Embolo, with Thuram hitting 10 goals and laying on eight assists in his first season as the Foals finished fourth to clinch a Champions League spot. Although Gladbach slipped to eighth the following year, Thuram still had a hand in 15 goals - and 23 in all competitions - which included his brace in the 2-2 draw with European heavyweights Real Madrid in the Champions League. They were his first goals in just his second UCL appearance - meaning he already has more Champions League goals than his dad managed (one) in 113 games. Thuram reflected: "I didn’t even know until now that he even scored a goal in the Champions League, but I’m pleased for him!"

That form saw him earn his first three senior caps for France during the November 2020 international break, while he was also part of the squad at Euro 2020. The striker got just nine minutes in the round of 16 against Switzerland as France bowed out on penalties despite Thuram converting his spot-kick against club teammate Yann Sommer. Injuries hampered his progress in 2021/22, with only three goals in 23 outings, but he was back to his best again at the back end of 2022. Thirteen goals in 17 competitive games for Gladbach up to the winter break - plus a division-leading 55 shots - saw him called up to France's World Cup squad, following once again in his father's footsteps. He featured in the opening two group games, as well as in the round of 16, semi-finals and final, setting up Kylian Mbappe to force extra-time in the latter.

Watch: All of Thuram's Bundesliga goals in 2022/23

Plays a bit like: Anthony Martial

Thuram may be slightly taller than the Manchester United forward and possess a bulkier frame, but that makes him no less dangerous than his fellow Frenchman of Guadeloupean descent. Indeed, he made France's Euro 2020 and 2022 World Cup squads ahead of Martial. Quick, direct and with the upper body strength to brush opponents out of the way, the sight of the Gladbach man running at you is enough to make any defender reconsider their profession. With Lilian world class as both a centre-back and right-back, one can only assume Marcus honed his skills as a left winger against his famous father in the back garden growing up.

A powerful left winger reminiscent of Anthony Martial, Thuram (2nd.r) provides pace and direct running out wide. - imago images / ZUMA Press

Did you know?

Thuram was born in Parma during his father's five-year spell at the Italian club, which included a UEFA Cup title in 1999 when Marcus was just two. While Lilian didn't want his children simply to copy him and go into football, encouraging them to try the likes of judo and fencing, neither Marcus nor younger brother Khephren listened and both are now professional footballers. Khephren followed his father and his brother by making his debut for France in March 2023.

What they're saying

"He's improving. It's promising. He plays as a second central striker and is one of the players we're following. Even if his dad wasn't called Lilian, we'd follow him anyway." – France coach Didier Deschamps, a teammate of Lilian

"I'm far from going to criticise him with his scoring rate. He's doing a super job. If he keeps working like he is, he'll score many, many more goals for us. He's still a young player and still getting used to the role of centre-forward. He's not yet at Robert Lewandowski level there [...] but he can maybe score three goals on a very good day." – Gladbach coach Daniel Farke

"He's going to be a great player. He's going to have a great future." – Former Saint Etienne coach Jean-Louis Gasset