Ruddy Lilian Thuram-Ulien, known as Lilian Thuram, is a French retired professional football defender and the most capped player in the history of the France national team with 142 appearances between 1994 and 2008. Thuram played at the top flight in France, Italy and Spain for over 15 seasons, including ten in Serie A with both Parma and Juventus. With France, Thuram won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2000, and was in the runner-up squad for the 2006 World Cup. A quick, powerful and versatile player, he was capable of playing both as a centre-back or as a right-back, and was competent both offensively and defensively. Thuram was an extremely dominant, consistent, athletic and attentive footballer. As a defender, he was known for his strength, pace, stamina and his outstanding physical, tactical, and technical attributes, as well as his ability to read the game, his heavy marking of opponents, and his aggressive tackling. A powerful and versatile player, who was equally competent offensively as he was defensively, and could play on either flank, often alternating between playing as a centre-back or as a right-back, and was even deployed in midfield on occasion. Despite his physical and aggressive playing style, Thuram has been described as a “studious” figure off the pitch; in 2010, he became a UNICEF ambassador, and has stood out for his initiatives to fight against racism
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Parma came the closest it had ever been to winning the Italian championship, but came up short by finishing only two points against Juventus. Young goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, along with new recruits Lilian Thuram, Enrico Chiesa and Hernán Crespo, proved to be the driving force in Parma’s title bid, which nearly reached ultimate success. However, a dubious penalty for Juventus in a 1–1 draw against the Turin club in May sealed Juventus’ title.
Match Worn Shirt
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In July 1996, Thuram made a high-profile transfer to Italy to join Serie A club Parma. In his first season, he made over 40 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring one goal, as Parma finished second in the 1996–97 Serie A to Juventus. He maintained a starting position in defence throughout his time with Parma, making 163 Serie A appearances and scoring one league goal. In all, he made over 200 appearances for the club, really making a name for himself, also earning caps for France. Following another overly impressive season in 2000–01, where Parma reached the Coppa Italia final, and finishing the Serie A season in fourth place, Thuram, along with teammate Gianluigi Buffon, transferred to Juventus. His transfer cost the club 80,000 million Italian lire (€41,316,552). While at Parma, along with eventual Juventus teammates Buffon and Fabio Cannavaro, Thuram won both the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia during the 1998–99 season, immediately followed by the 1999 Supercoppa Italiana.
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2000-2001 was the last season for two big players of Parma with the team. Still young, Gianluigi Buffon played out his final season with the club, along with defender Lilian Thuram. Both were sold to Juventus in the summer, and their absence was clearly felt in the 2001–02 season. 2001 remains the last time Parma qualified for the Champions League.
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Thuram was an extremely dominant, consistent, athletic and attentive footballer. As a defender, he was known for his strength, pace, stamina and his outstanding physical, tactical, and technical attributes, as well as his ability to read the game, his heavy marking of opponents, and his aggressive tackling. A powerful and versatile player, who was equally competent offensively as he was defensively, and could play on either flank, often alternating between playing as a centre-back or as a right-back, and was even deployed in midfield on occasion. Thuram scored only two international goals, both of which came in one game – the 1998 World Cup semi-final against Croatia, in which France came back to win 2–1 and advance to the final. France defeated Brazil 3–0 to capture their inaugural World Cup and Thuram won the Bronze Ball as the third most valuable player in the tournament. He, Bixente Lizarazu, Laurent Blanc and Marcel Desailly formed the backbone of the French defence that conceded only two goals in seven matches.
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In the summer of 2001, Thuram made a transfer to Juventus, along with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Thuram formed a defensive partnerships with the likes of Ciro Ferrara, Paolo Montero, Gianluca Pessotto, Mark Iuliano, Alessandro Birindelli, Igor Tudor, Gianluca Zambrotta, Nicola Legrottaglie, Fabio Cannavaro, Giorgio Chiellini, Federico Balzaretti and Jonathan Zebina during his five-year tenure with the club. In his first season with the club, as a right back under Marcello Lippi, Thuram won the 2001–02 Serie A title, also reaching the final of the 2001–02 Coppa Italia. Juventus started the following season by winning the 2002 Supercoppa Italiana, and defended their Serie A title, also reaching the UEFA Champions League final, where they were defeated by rivals Milan on penalties. Juventus won the 2003 Supercoppa Italiana the following season, reaching another Coppa Italia final, but finished in a disappointing 3rd place in Serie A, and failed to progress past the second round in the Champions League. During the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons under coach Fabio Capello, Thuram, along with Fabio Cannavaro in the centre of defence, with Gianluigi Buffon in goal, Gianluca Zambrotta at left back, and Jonathan Zebina at right back formed one of the most expensive, but also most feared, defences in Europe and Italy. During these next two seasons with the club, Thuram won the Scudetto two more times with Juventus, although these consecutive league titles were later revoked due to Juventus’ involvement in the 2006 Italian football scandal (calciopoli). After five years with Juve, Thuram transferred to Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga, in the wake of the calciopoli scandal. He managed over 200 total appearances for the club, with two goals.
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This home blue shirt was not used for the Final as the team used the white shirt. But both colors were prepared for the Final since for every World Cup Final, when both teams have the same colors of shirts, there is a drawing the day before the game with the referee’s presence, to decide what team will use home kit, unless both teams agree it themselves. So, since France team’s shirts had embroidery on chest, both shirt’s versions were prepared.