Florian Thauvin and Marseille: a love story in two parts

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Olympique de Marseille's Florian Thauvin has enjoyed a stellar season and the sky's the limit for the former Newcastle attacker. Interview…

The first part of the Thauvin love story was a slow burning two-year tale that fizzled out with his move to Newcastle in 2015, despite the occasional outburst of passion. A year later and the flame was re-ignited. Declaring his commitment with 15 goals and 8 assists this season, the 24-year-old is now devoted to the Velodrome.

"I always wanted to shine at Olympique de Marseille," he told the Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "After things didn't work out in England, I was offered the chance to come back and this time I didn't want to disappoint, and for the moment things are going well for me so I'm very happy."

Since his return, Thauvin appeared more mature and focused, and the results have been stunning.


"I've worked hard to change, I've always had a bit of character. It's good to have character in football but it needs to be channelled in the right way, and that wasn't always the case. As a footballer, you have to do your job and remain discreet, set an example and I try to do that now as much as possible. I try to be as professional as possible each day, and that helps."

The former Bastia man believes his transformation has been helped by experience figures in the Marseille dressing room, most notably club captain Bafétimbi Gomis.

"He took me under his wing, gave me tips and helped me regain confidence in myself. Then Patrice Evra came in, he's a hugely experienced pro, and has won nearly everything there is to win. He helps me a lot too. I listen to Dimitri Payet's advice as well. I'm lucky to be surrounded by professionals who help me."

France call

Such support has allowed Thauvin to really push on. And his form was rewarded by Didier Deschamps in March, with a first-ever call up to the France squad.

"There's nothing better than being called up to represent your country. You train alongside the best players in France, the best in Europe. When you get the phone call you are delighted, but you don't really have time to take it in, because you have to get straight back to work. It's an exceptional feeling though."

At the time of Thauvin's return to OM, the nine-time champions underwent a number of big changes both on and off the pitch. Those changes matched the winger's own lofty ambitions.

"Club going places"

"When a new investor comes in and the new president arrives at the first meeting carrying the Champions League trophy, you sense that the club is going places. Even if Marseille have always been a big club, the last two or three years were tough. Now, the owner and the president are doing everything to see this club grow.  Personally, I was delighted that they came here, to try to boost a club that means a lot to me. It makes you want to improve, and win as much as possible."

A first career hat-trick against Caen two weeks ago confirmed the purple patch Thauvin is currently enjoying. With four goals and two assists in his last four games, the rejuvenated winger will be a key man against Bordeaux on Sunday, as Marseille look to seal 5th spot and Europa League qualification.

"The project is slowly being put in place, and I think that if you had told us at the start of the season that we would be where we are now we would have taken it. If we are able to fight for a European spot during a transition season like this one has been, it can only be good. Our objective is to qualify for Europe, and if we don't manage that come the end of the season, all the players will be responsible, including me!"

>> PLAYER PAGE: Florian Thauvin

>> PREVIEW: OM out to end Bordeaux hoodoo in Euro decider

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