Football News

Why Florian Thauvin turned down the Spanish champions for Mexico’s Liga MX

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:38, 1 July 2021

Florian Thauvin has revealed he turned down a move to La Liga champions Atletico Madrid before signing for Liga MX club Tigres due to happiness reasons.

The 28-year-old joined Marseille from Newcastle United in 2017, having made the reverse switch in 2015, and signed a four-year deal with the French club which ran out this summer.

With his contract running out, Thauvin was subject to interest from a number of European teams who had been closely following his performances as part of a Marseille side that had threatened to become a regular in the Ligue 1 top four and finished second in 2019/20.

However, Thauvin did not choose to stay in Europe and instead opted for a surprise move to North America, joining Tigres, one of the most recognisable names in Mexican football.

Speaking about the move, the 28-year-old has insisted his decision to turn down a European stay with the likes of AC Milan, Lyon and Atletico Madrid, was made due to his happiness.

“We spoke with Milan since September, I had the offer from Paolo Maldini since January,” Thauvin told Multimedios, as quoted by AS.

“Then Marseille made me a very big offer, from Lyon, from Atlético Madrid, then the Tigers came and everything happened.

“I didn’t feel good at Marseille, I didn’t feel good in my life. My life changed a lot because my son arrived, so I needed to change my life.

“I don’t like talking about money, that’s why I’m not in Tigres. In France, in Spain or Italy gave me a lot of money too. If I wanted to play for money, I don’t come to Mexico, I would have played in China or Saudi Arabia.

“Here I have everything to be happy, play football, the fans, a very big club, titles, there is everything.”

Florian Thauvin’s success at Marseille

Thauvin may not have won anything during his six years at Marseille covering the two spells, but he did enjoy personal success on the pitch, particularly in his latter stint. After struggling to make a real impact in the Premier League with Newcastle, the main expectation for Thauvin upon his return to France was the re-find the form that initially caught the Magpies’ eyes.

And find it he did. Including a loan spell before re-joining permanently, since the start of the 2016/17 season, Thauvin played 144 times for Marseille in Ligue 1.

In those 144 games, Thauvin scored 61 goals and recorded 35 assists, at an average of 0.76 goal involvements per 90 minutes. During that same period, Dimitri Payet was his closest rival for goals scored at Marseille, but the former West Ham United man managed 30 (in 132 matches). Payet was also the only player to record more assists at Marseille than Thauvin with 36 and he also created more chances than the 28-year-old with 396 to 241 – but that was Thauvin’s closest rival.

Looking across the rest of Ligue 1, Thauvin’s Marseille spell looks even more impressive with only Kylian Mbappe (141), Memphis Depay (107) and Edinson Cavani (101) directly involved in more goals than his 96 since the start of 2016/17.