Real Madrid – La Liga Born in Mallorca 20 years ago
When Real Madrid first attempted to sign Marvin Park, they struggled to believe that the then 16-year-old midfielder was Spanish.
Reading his full name on his ID, Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park, they found out that the current Real Madrid prodigy was the child of a Nigerian father, Akeem Olawale, and a South Korean mother, Hye Sook Park.
Both humble people, who work in a hotel in Mallorca, Park and Olawale first met at the island, where their son was born two decades ago.
When his brother first took him to play football, the five-year-old Park burst into to tears as he hated his first acquaintance with the sport. However, a year later his parents enrolled him at Ciutat de Palma, a club located close to where the family lives.
It didn’t take long until scouts spotted his talent and Park departed Mallorca in 2009 to join Tranmere Rovers for three years and combine his time there with his studies.
Upon his return to the island, he moved back to Ciutat de Palma, before joining La Salle and ending up at Penya Arrabal, where former Real Madrid scout Carlos Paniza spotted him and informed the club of the unearthed gem.
Both his parents and sports mentors acknowledge that as a kid he was “extremely shy”, with Paniza referring to him as the “silent winger”.
After joining Real Madrid, he would call his mother every night crying from Valdebebas, where he worked under Alvaro Benito and later on Raul Gonzalez.
Marvin was very fast and skilled, but he had to work on his body, with his agent and former Real Madrid player Joyce Moreno, being aware that his client needed to add some muscle.
At Los Blancos he improved a lot tactically and character-wise, although he has not been able to get rid of his shyness.
Marvin made his official Real Madrid debut away at Real Sociedad in the first stretch of the season.
Then, he was given playing time against Huesca and started in the recent 2-0 victory over Getafe.