Lilian Thuram is one of France’s most popular figures since his double against Croatia sent Les Bleus to the World Cup final they won in 1998 and 24 years later his son Marcus features in the squad in Qatar, feeling absolutely no pressure though.
The father, a natural centre back turned left back by then coach Aime Jacquet, stunned even his team mates when a quick second-half double helped France beat Croatia 2-1 after his defensive mistake allowed Davor Suker to opened the scoring.
The son joined the France squad late after coach Didier Deschamps, his father’s captain in 1998, decided in the last minute to take 26 players instead of 25 to Qatar.
“It’s a great pride to be here, it’s a childhood dream come true, I’m very happy to be part of that squad,” Thuram told a news conference on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Group D clash with Denmark, before questions about his father started to flow.
“I don’t put myself (under) any pressure about that. Maybe after my career I will look back and will realise it’s something special,” he added.
Asked if he was tired of being asked about his father, Thuram at first frowned, before smiling.
“You want the truth? No, he’s my daddy, I love him, I’ve known him since I was born. No, no problem,” he said.
It is however obvious that senior Thuram is a close follower of his sons’ careers as Khephren plays as a defensive midfielder for Ligue 1 side Nice and the France under-21 team.
“My father helps me a lot on the mental side,” he said. “His advice has always been the same - enjoy yourself and give everything so you have no regrets,” Marcus said.
While he has yet to score in five appearances with France, his father holds the record number of caps, having featured 142 times and netted those two goals at the 1998 World Cup.
“He didn’t score on purpose,” Marcus, whose chances of starting against Denmark are very limited, said joking.
France leads Group D with three points, two ahead of Denmark and Tunisia while Australia is last after losing 4-1 to the defending champions on Tuesday.