Marquinhos: I might have played for Portugal, but I'm not looking to England yet
He's one of the most promising defenders in Europe. He turned down Manchester United to join the PSG project. He's Brazilian but he might have played for Portugal if they'd asked. And now he stands in the way of Chelsea's progress in the Champions League....
If PSG decided they wanted to buy Neymar, I’m sure they'd get him
At 6ft, you’re not particularly tall for a central defender. How do you compensate for that lack of height?
Well, you can never say I don’t work hard in training – I really do! I compensate in other areas. I focus on strength exercises in the gym and on the timing of tackles so I can become a more complete centre-back. [Former PSG assistant manager Claude] Makelele was very important. He never said no when I asked him for help.
Makelele was very important. He never said no when I asked him for help
You began your career with Corinthians in your native Brazil, but struggled to hold down a regular place in the side before moving to Roma in July 2012. Why do you think that was?
That’s a sensitive situation to evaluate. I have no idea why I didn’t have more chances. There were more experienced players in my position and it was a tough fight. I didn’t want to move to Roma at the time, but then they talked to me and convinced me that the youngsters would be at the centre of their project.
It was marvellous. Rome reminds me a lot of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. Paris is more like Buenos Aires, Argentina. Warm and cold. Brazil and Argentina. We always end up on this! [laughs]
You made your senior Brazil debut in October 2013, and you’re also part of the under-23 side aiming to win the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Has it been hard to switch between the two levels?
If the under-15s coach wants to call me up, I’m available! I’ll always be ready to represent Brazil – it doesn’t matter which team. We’ve got the Olympic project, but then Dunga decided to bring me into the main side when I was on my way to Dubai for a youth tournament.
I thought about it for some time. If an invitation had come along, why not?
Were you disappointed to miss out on last year’s World Cup on home soil? Or did the competition just come too early in your career?
Well, I believed I could have been in the World Cup squad. As we say in Brazil: while there’s life, there’s hope. I waited for [the call-up] until the last minute, I’m sure I did good work and I put in some great performances during the season. But what can I say? It ended up not happening. I respect the choices made by the coach.
I was even younger then and I was aware that it would be very difficult for me, but I would have given everything to be there with them, even after the 7-1 defeat to Germany. I wanted to be there, to have that experience of playing in the World Cup at home.
Marquinhos was speaking in the March 2015 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe!