Flamini in action for Arsenal in 2007
|Full name||Mathieu Flamini|
|Date of birth||7 March 1984|
|Place of birth||Marseille, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:28, 4 May 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Born in Marseille, Flamini was a youth team player for his local professional club Marseille. He made his debut for the senior team on 20 December 2003 in the 1–0 victory over Toulouse FC. He impressed the team as a hardworking midfield player and played 14 times for the club. However, it was his performances in Marseille’s UEFA Cup campaign that brought him to the attention of the football world, including the semi-final victory over Newcastle United. He played in the final in Gothenburg which Valencia won 2–0. Due to his age, Marseille was unable to offer him a long term professional contract.
On 23 July 2004, Flamini signed a professional contract for English Premier League team Arsenal, rejecting Marseille's long-term senior contract offer to which he had already verbally agreed. Soon after the incident, Marseille manager José Anigo stated, "This is a beautiful treason. He used me."
Flamini made his Arsenal début in the 4–1 win at Everton on 15 August 2004. He was used as a utility player starting 9 games but being used as a substitute in 12. The following season saw him filling in for a number of injured players, but unable to command a first team place in his favoured position. He scored his first Arsenal goal on 11 May 2005 in a 7–0 home win against Everton scoring the seventh goal, that was Arsenal's last ever goal scored in their original Red and White kit at Highbury.
In the 2006–07 season, Flamini scored the winning goal against Dinamo Zagreb in the qualifying stages of the Champions League. He also scored important goals against Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, and Liverpool in the Premiership. However, despite these important goals, he remained unsatisfied with his "utility player" role at the club and in April 2007, he admitted that he would probably be leaving Arsenal in the summer. However, Flamini turned down a proposed £3m move to Birmingham City and remained with the team.
Flamini started in central midfield for Arsenal's first match of the 2007–08 Premier League season, due to the absence of Gilberto Silva and Abou Diaby. During Arsenal's 2007–08 campaign, he struck up a strong partnership with Cesc Fàbregas, keeping Gilberto out of the starting XI with displays widely regarded by Arsenal fans as a vast improvement on those during his previous years at the club. Flamini enjoyed a generally good rapport with Arsenal's fans, who provided him with his own song, an adaptation of the theme tune to British television programme The Sweeney. On 29 January 2008, he scored an extraordinary 25-yard (23 m) strike in Arsenal's 3–0 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League. He played on 8 April 2008, a UEFA Champions League match in which Arsenal were knocked out by English rival Liverpool. After the match, he was reported injured and it proved to be his last match for Arsenal. In April 2009, he stated in an interview that he is still an Arsenal fan and that he has no hard feelings towards the club, "Arsenal are in my heart and they will be in my heart for ever," he said. "I will always be an Arsenal fan and leaving was not easy."
He made his Serie A debut on 30 August 2008 in a 2–1 loss to Bologna. Initially, Flamini did not enjoy the number of starts or appearances for the Italian team, and was regarded as a utility player at Milan. Nevertheless, injuries to other players and his consistent good form helped him to cement a starting place at San Siro. With Milan failing to find a stable defence and a lack of a fit, consistent, and reliable right back, Gianluca Zambrotta was switched to the left flank to help Flamini develop as a tenacious right back. After stating that his preferred position is in the midfield, Milan re-deployed him as a defensive midfielder.
Flamini saw limited playing time towards the end of 2009–10 season due to the great form of club captain Massimo Ambrosini. In the following season, Flamini became an important asset of the team that would win the 18th scudetto, playing many games as starter, and scoring two goals, against Bari and Bologna, respectively. After playing as a rotation role in the 2010–11 season he injured himself in a pre-season training session, suffering a serious knee injury which required an operation. Flamini spent the entire 2011–12 season out.
On 20 June 2012, It was confirmed by the club that he had left following the expiration of his contract, as they had ended negotiations with the player, and so he became a free agent. Two weeks later Flamini and Adriano Galliani reached a new agreement for a one-year contract, with the Frenchman taking a significant cut in his wages. On 7 April 2013, Flamini scored his first goal of the season, and Milan's second goal in a 2–2 draw against Fiorentina.
Return to Arsenal
Flamini began training with Arsenal midway in early August, with the reason to "solely maintain fitness" with a view to signing for a club in England. Immediately it sparked media attention with claims rising that he would soon sign for Arsenal, but these reports were shunned by many journalists, pointing out that many other ex Arsenal players had returned to train with Arsenal including club legends Robert Pires and Thierry Henry.
However, Flamini had signed for Arsenal on 29 August 2013 and became Arsenal's second signing of the summer, after Yaya Sanogo. He made his returning debut on 1 September 2013 at the Emirates Stadium against Tottenham Hotspur coming on for Jack Wilshere, helping the team secure a 1–0 win. His performances after signing were lauded by both critics and fans alike, and had featured in all of Arsenal's League, Cup and European games since, with many seeing his signing, and his combative style of play, as one of the key reasons for Arsenal's excellent early season form. He scored his first goal in his second spell at Arsenal on 30 November 2013, scoring the second goal away against Cardiff City in a 3-0 win. He has also scored in a crucial 1-1 draw against Manchester City after a run of bad form from Arsenal, helping the club rejuvenate and achieve a Top 4 finish.
Flamini accepted his first call up to France by coach Raymond Domenech for a friendly against Argentina at the Stade de France on 7 February 2007 after Jérémy Toulalan was ruled out due to injury. He later made his international debut in a friendly against Morocco on 16 November 2007 as a substitute.
Style of play
- As of 29 March 2014.
- Includes cup competitions: the Coppa Italia, Football League Cup and FA Cup. Super Cups such as the FA Community Shield are not included.
- FA Cup (2): 2004–05, 2013–14
- FA Community Shield (1): 2004
- UEFA Champions League (1): Runner-up 2005-06
- "Player Profile: Mathieu Flamini". Premier League. Retrieved 5 Sep 2013.
- "Flamini file à l'anglaise" (in French). Eurosport. 22 July 2004. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Flamini out for three weeks". AFP. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008.
- "Mathieu Flamini interview". BBC Sport. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
- Burt, Jason (28 April 2008). "Young Gunner Flamini agrees to join Milan". Independent (UK). Retrieved 28 April 2008.
- "Flamini seals switch to AC Milan". BBC News. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- Bologna ruin Ronaldinho debut. serieatalk.com.
- Gilbert, Mark (21 June 2012). "Mat finished at Milan". The Sun (UK). Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Milan confirm Flamini U-turn". soccernet.espn.go.com. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
- "AC Milan tops Fiorentina: Serie A". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- "Club confirms Mathieu Flamini signing". Arsenal F.C. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Magowan, Alistair (1 September 2013). "Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham". BBC (BBC Sport). Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- France 2–1 Maroc, fff.fr, 16 November 2007, accessed 17 November 2007.
- Ornstein, David. "Mathieu Flamini: Midfielder returns to Arsenal on free transfer". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Mathieu Flamini". ESPN. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mathieu Flamini.|
- Mathieu Flamini profile Arsenal.com
- Mathieu Flamini career stats at Soccerbase
- Mathieu Flamini – FIFA competition record
- Mathieu Flamini – UEFA competition record