Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos dreams of one day playing in the Premier League, speaking to Squawka ahead of facing his long-term English suitors, Chelsea, in the concluding leg of the two sides’ Champions League round of 16 tie.
The Brazilian played the full 90 minutes in his team’s first-leg victory in Paris, with PSG travelling to Stamford Bridge as the favourites to progress thanks to their 2-1 aggregate lead.
Yet while the race for European silverware may be occupying the 21-year-old defender’s mind this season, he has now spoken of his plans to one day move to England.
“The Premier League is the number one best league in the world,” Marquinhos told Squawka. “It’s a very competitive football. There are not weak teams at all.”
Chelsea’s interest in signing the versatile Brazilian, who can play at centre-back, as a full-back and is technically adept on the ball, has been a regular subject of transfer reports over the past few years.
He was claimed to be a potential signing for Jose Mourinho last summer, alongside John Stones and Raphael Varane, and after having again been linked in January Marquinhos’ ambition could make the move possible.
“I just like the league itself but I haven’t got an English side that I follow closely,” he added. “It’d be fantastic to have this opportunity [to play in England] one day, but now I’m focused on PSG.”
Marquinhos is making plenty of individual progress in French football after a rapid journey that saw him transferred between three clubs in less than 18 months.
In February 2012, he made his senior professional debut for Sao Paulo giants Corinthians before moving to Serie A club AS Roma in July of the same year. PSG came calling a year later. Given the speed of his departure, there are aspects he misses from Brazilian football, as you would expect.
“I played only six months there as a professional, but I definitely miss the passion of the people, especially in Corinthians, my former club. I grew up there and that’s something really special,” Marquinhos said.
“Football is like a religion for every Brazilian and even though it’s also huge here in Europe, it’s different there somehow.”
Major transfers to the other side of the world from Brazil, and South America as a whole, have dominated football’s news agenda in recent weeks given the rise of the Chinese Super League’s budgets and ambitions, with many of Marquinhos’ compatriots heading to the country. But Marquinhos takes an optimistic view when it comes to the growth of a new power base in Asia, which could allow China to challenge the game’s status quo.
“China have made it clear to the world what they are capable of,” he added. “I think it might be the first step for a really global football, and not only Europe and South America as it is nowadays.
“China and also USA are investing a huge amount of money to bring in big players and we will see a different map of football sooner rather than later. I see it as something positive.”
Regardless of these developments in Asia, however, the Brazilian defender’s future focus remains fixed on English football:
“I think every single player dreams of playing in the Premier League one day. I’m no different, but I just try to go step by step in my career and at the moment I’m totally focused on PSG. Let’s see what happens in the future.”
Related Teams: Chelsea