One day after Zinedine Zidane lifted the Euro 2000 Championship, a boy named Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park was born in Palma de Mallorca. It was July 3, 2000. From a Nigerian father and a South Korean mother, the boy became a footballer. In 2016 he signed for the Real Madrid youth, in 2019 he chose to play for Spain rather than for his parents’ countries of origin, and in 2021 he made his debut as the starter of the white first team under the command of that ’10’ who made the European champion France.

Marvin Park was Zidane’s emergency solution to the plague of injuries that plagues the Real Madrid squad. The merengue infirmary already welcomes eight players (Carvajal, Odriozola, Ramos, Militao, Lucas, Valverde, Rodrygo, and Hazard) and against Getafe Kroos could not play, sanctioned. The result was a call “with what is put” and with five of the homegrown players who were champions of the Youth Champions. There was Marvin, who arrived in Madrid in 2016 from Es Jonquet Penya Arrabal, who has been rising through the merengue quarry (Youth C, B, A) until he became a key piece of the squad that conquered Europe and, also, Castilla Raúl, with whom he played 26 games last season and scored three goals.

The midfielder with the physique to strengthen, but with enough talent and speed to convince Zidane, who is delighted with him and has already given him minutes in several games. Never as a starter, until today. He won the position to an Isco who arrived between cotton wool and jumped first to warm up with the ’28’ on his back. A matter of desire.
A few seconds into the warm-up, Modric gestured at him and they teamed up in the classic passing drill. The Ballon d’Or and the child. Benzema teased him to ease his nerves and the young man smiled. Marvin’s ‘fifth’ teammates were waiting on the bench: Miguel Gutiérrez (19-year-old left-back), Víctor Chust (20-year-old center-back), Antonio Blanco (19-year-old midfielder), and Sergio Arribas (19-year-old midfielder). All four have been at La Fábrica since childhood, at least, and are the most prominent of that European champion team.


The match faced the team with the most fouls in LaLiga, Getafe (16.8 per game), which is also the most booked (71 yellows in total) and the second cleanest in the competition, Madrid, with barely 10.9 per encounter. It was noticed by Marvin, who started as the lane in Zidane’s 3-4-3 that forced him to travel the entire right-wing. In the first half, he had the French coach by his side to correct mistakes and encourage him. “Good Marvin!” Nacho repeated, protector. And opposite Cucurella, the best footballer in Getafe. With him, he had several frictions in which he ended up on the ground, but he held them well. At the end of the first 45 minutes, he was the best player on the field according to the statistics website ‘Who Scored’, with a 6.9 mark.

A physical problem forced him to leave the field in 55, Arribas entering in his place, but his night was done. At the same time, Kubo jumped for Getafe, a white pearl, and a headache after his unsuccessful transfer to Villarreal. When the game was young, because Vinícius, nine days younger than Marvin despite having been in the elite for more than two seasons, put a perfect cross for Benzema 1-0. Zidane celebrated on the bench, this time forgetting the applause and the usual smile, screaming with anger and clenching his fists. Mendy’s 2-0 gave him enough peace of mind to give minutes to another young debutant in the League, Victor Chust.


At a press conference, the French coach praised the good performance of his players despite the casualties and the change in the system. “The players have interpreted it well even though it is a drawing we are not used to and that says a lot about the squad. I am happy for them because it was not easy with the casualties. Zidane explained that the first change was going to be Vinícius for Arribas, but Marvin’s physical problems changed the plans. The Brazilian continued on the field and assisted Benzema in 1-0.

The attitude has been exemplary,” acknowledged the Frenchman, who insists on fighting for the League: “51 points are missing, we have to fight and we have to continue with our work. Continue. They are two consecutive wins and also with many casualties.” Regarding Isco, who entered the call but was not a starter, the coach assured that the Andalusian was not to be a starter after having participated in a single training session. “I couldn’t play, I had only had training.