Thomas Meunier comes from Lavacherie in the southernmost province of Belgium He moved to the Standard Liege academy in 2004, but wasn’t considered one of the top talents at the club famed for its work with young players. There were others above him in the pecking order, including a certain Axel Witsel, two years his senior. At 15, Meunier was told his time at the club was over. The disappointment was so great that the youngster considered hanging up his boots for good. His mother Véronique then arranged a trial for him at Excelsior Virton. Thomas duly scored ten goals in a 15-3 friendly win. "What number do you want on your shirt?" the coach asked him immediately afterwards.
At the age of 17, he made his debut in Virton's first team, in the second division in that season. In 2010/2011, the 19-year-old developed into an absolute sensation. Ten goals in the third tier attracted the interest of first division teams. Unbelievable, because Meunier had already completed his education and was pursuing a good honest job: after his studies in Bastogne, he would get up at 5 a.m. every morning to deliver the mail.
At FC Brugge, the right-winger was converted to a defender. "I wasn't sure if that was my position. But I wanted to play." Driven by the storming right-back, Club Brugge won the Belgian cup in 2015 and the league one year later. Meunier starred for his country at Euro 2016 and after the tournament he moved to PSG, where he won two French cups (2017, 2018) and three league titles (2018, 2019, 2020).
When Thomas Meunier ran out onto the pitch at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK for the first time in February 2020, he was wearing a PSG shirt. In the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, he met BVB with his team at the time and experienced the energy of the stadium for the first time. "I enjoyed the moment, the volume, the atmosphere. The crowd are close to the pitch , and you can feel where you are", remembers the Belgian. "On the pitch, I was grinning like a little kid. You might be able to see it in the television pictures." That game had an influence on his decision to sign for Borussia Dortmund for the following season.
He compares BVB to his first professional team, Club Brugge: "Both clubs are very popular, they have a lot of fans all over the country and the same mentality. You don't need to describe Dortmund. You can already see on TV how it is to play for BVB. That's what I was looking for. It's that simple." In Dortmund, he linked up with his national team colleagues Axel Witsel and Thorgan Hazard, who had already told him plenty about life in Black & Yellow. He also played alongside them at EURO 2020 in the summer of 2021. The 29-year-old played in all five of the Belgians' matches up to the quarter-finals, scoring one goal and providing two assists. He was also in the squad for the 2022 World Cup, which saw Belgium fail to make it out of the group stages.
After making only four appearances in the starting line-up in the second half of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season, Meunier started 17 games in 2021/22, and didn't once appear on the bench. When Meunier was fit, he played! A cheekbone fracture in October 2022 and a torn muscle in January 2023 slowed the full-back's progress last season, and he only made ten appearances. When he is on the pitch, the Belgian does not stop running up and down the right-hand side (averaging 12.4 km per 90 minutes) and always looks to do things at pace (35 sprints per 90 minutes).
In June 2022, he married his long-time girlfriend Deborah Panzokou. They have three children together.