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From Tranmere Rovers to Real Madrid; the remarkable journey of young Marvin Park peaked on Sunday night when Zinedine Zidane handed the talented youngster an opportunity of a lifetime.
Park, a former academy player at the League Two side, was brought on with 20 minutes remaining at the Anoeta Stadium as the Spanish giants tried to make a breakthrough in their La Liga opener against Real Sociedad.
The 20-year-old looked sharp but was unable to make the difference as Madrid recorded a disappointing 0-0 draw.
That being said, the Mallorca-born winger's first team debut was perhaps the most encouraging sign on the night.
Born in 2000, Park, who is part Nigerian and part Korean, started his career at local side Ciutat de Palma before moving to England.
He was eventually picked up by League Two side Tranmere Rovers at the age of nine and he spent three years in the North West before returning to his homeland to play for Ciutat de Palma.
The pacey winger went on to develop at local clubs La Salle and Jonquet Penya Arrabal before scouts at Real Madrid decided to swoop and snap up the youngster in 2016.
It was a dream come true for Park and boy did he take his opportunity with both hands.
Here is Marvin Olawale Akinlabi
• The first Nigerian to play competitive game for Real Madrid
• He was a 70th min substitute for Madrid vs Sociedad tonight
• He recently won UEFA Youth League for Real
• He has a Nigerian dad and Korean mum pic.twitter.com/fkgVLaT8wk
- FAST TRACK (@FastTrackNaija) September 20, 2020
Park rose through the youth ranks and last season, he scored three goals in 26 appearances for Real Madrid Castilla.
And with his impressive form for Castilla in mind, Zidane gave the 20-year-old his senior debut alongside another youngster, Sergio Arribas.
His decision to not trust the likes of Luka Jovic and Borja Mayoral to try and find the breakthrough spoke volumes.
"We didn't change our formation. It's tricky, because if you throw on another centre-forward, you have to change the formation and I didn't want to. We needed to bring on players on the wings, and that's what we did," Zidane said post-game.
Real Madrid last night became the first side to field 4 players born this millennium in a single game :baby:
:flag_br: Vinícius Júnior (12 July 2001)
:flag_br: Rodrygo Goes (9 January 2001)
:flag_es: Marvin Park (3 July 2000)
:flag_es: Sergio Arribas (30 September 2001)
The future is bright! #LLL
- La Liga Lowdown :flag_es::soccer: (@LaLigaLowdown) September 21, 2020
Let's hope Zidane gives Park and his Castilla teammates more chances to impress in the first team this season.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/MarvinPark
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