Barcelona, Zidane, Ronaldo... Thuram reveals player anecdotes
Lilian Thuram spoke with L'Equipe and gave some surprising anecdotes about players he has shared a dressing room with, including a party-loving Barça star.
When a football player retires but is then given opportunities to remain in the spotlight through interviews to the media, it’s not unusual that we get some tidbits of information from inside the game, often with insights into other stars, some that may still be making their living in the game. The latest case of this comes from Lilian Thuram, a French legend and 1998 World Cup winner with Les Bleus.
Speaking with L’Équipe, the former defender, who played for Barcelona from 2006 to 2008, gave his thoughts to various questions, the answers to which included Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and a very interesting revelation from the Camp Nou team. Here’s a summary of the interview.
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The toughest teammate: Zidane
"Zinedine Zidane. The first time I met him, in the France national team, I was 17 and a half years old. During the warm-up, he did keepie-uppies, hit it high in the air, and then kept them going. I'd never seen someone my age do that with a ball. Then I followed his development into the stand-out player he became in Italy.
"I didn't like people thinking he was just gifted and talented. Zidane was, above all, a hard worker, extremely rigorous, and with a lot of character."
The toughest opponent: Ronaldo
"Ronaldo, of course. No matter where he received the ball, everyone was alert, knowing he could ignite an attack that led to a goal. It was always really good to play against him.
"When you like playing against great players, it becomes fun."
The biggest villian: Mozer and Couto
"Carlos Mozer got this reputation at Olympique Marseille. After that, what do we really mean by villain? I was also very aggressive.
"At Parma I met Fernando Couto, a guy who was very quiet and very nice in real life, but who turned into someone else on the pitch."
The funniest: Bravo
"Daniel Bravo without hesitation. I've never met anyone like him who can create a funny story that adapts to any situation."
The party lover: someone at Barcelona
"At Barcelona, a player, who will remain nameless, couldn't train far too often.
"Some mornings we could see that he was not in good condition. They locked him in the massage room to sleep."
The attacker most feared: Garande then Munitis
"At the beginning of my career, Patrice Garande, very intelligent in his movements, sometimes I thought that he'd disappeared from the pitch, I couldn't see him anymore. It was very difficult.
"But the one who gave me the most trouble was Pedro Munitis, during the quarter-finals of Euro 2000 (2-1 against Spain). He was much shorter and faster than me, I couldn't catch him. At half-time, I even changed my boots, but nothing helped.
"I never understood why, but the opposing coach decided to take him off. For a long time I had nightmares just thinking about him. If you want to scare me, just say, "Look out, there's Munitis!"