Matuidi with Paris Saint-Germain in 2013
|Full name||Blaise Matuidi|
|Date of birth||9 April 1987|
|Place of birth||Toulouse, France|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 April 2016.
Blaise Matuidi (French pronunciation: [blɛz ma.tɥi.di]; born 9 April 1987) is a French international footballer who currently plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 as a central midfielder. He is described as a "fierce and strong tackler." Matuidi began his football career playing for amateur clubs in the Île-de-France region, such as US Fontenay-sous-Bois and CO Vincennois. In 1999, he was selected to attend the prestigious Clairefontaine academy. After departing Clairefontaine, Matuidi joined semi-professional club Créteil and spent three years developing in the club's youth academy. In 2004, he signed with professional club Troyes and made his professional debut in the 2004–05 season. After three seasons with Troyes, Matuidi joined Saint-Étienne. With Saint-Étienne, he played European football for the first time after participating in the 2008–09 edition of the UEFA Cup. In the 2009–10 season, he was named first-choice captain under manager Alain Perrin. In July 2011, after four seasons with Saint-Étienne, Matuidi transferred to Paris Saint-Germain on a three-year deal.
Matuidi is a former French youth international, having represented his nation at under-19 and under-21 level. In August 2010, Matuidi was called up to the senior team for the first time under new manager Laurent Blanc. He made his international debut in September 2010 in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match against Bosnia and Herzegovina and has since represented his nation at two UEFA European Football Championships and a FIFA World Cup, winning a runners-up medal at UEFA Euro 2016.
Matuidi was born in Toulouse, Haute-Garonne, to an Angolan father, Faria Rivelino, and a French mother, Élise. Rivelino emigrated to France at a young age. Matuidi has four other siblings and was raised in the Parisian suburb of Fontenay-sous-Bois. He grew an attraction to the sport of football watching Paris Saint-Germain and became an admirer of former PSG attacker Jay-Jay Okocha. Matuidi began his football career at the age of six playing for hometown club US Fontenay-sous-Bois. After five years at the club, he joined CO Vincennois in nearby Vincennes, where he was teammates with Yacine Brahimi for a year. In 1999, Matuidi was rated as one of the best players in the Île-de-France region and was subsequently selected to attend the prestigious Clairefontaine academy. He trained at the academy for three seasons, playing there on weekdays while simultaneously playing for Vincennes on the weekends. In 2001, Matuidi left Vincennes to sign for semi-professional club Créteil on an aspirant (youth) contract. He spent four years in the club youth academy quickly becoming one of the club's most sought after prospects. Despite an intriguing offer from the two-time defending champions Olympique Lyonnais, Matuidi signed with Troyes, citing the club's training centre as his primary reason.
Matuidi began his career with Troyes playing on the club's reserve team in the Championnat de France amateur 2, the fifth division of French football. In November 2004, he was called up to the senior team by manager Jean-Marc Furlan and made his professional debut on 23 November in the team's Ligue 2 match against Gueugnon. Matuidi started the match and played over 60 minutes in a 2–1 victory. His only other appearance with the senior team in the 2004–05 season came on 4 February 2005 in a league match against Guingamp. Matuidi was relegated back to the club's reserve team for the rest of the campaign where he helped the team finish in a respectable sixth place. In the following season, Matuidi was promoted to the senior team, who were now playing in Ligue 1, on a permanent basis. He was inserted as a starter by Furlan and appeared in 31 league matches. Matuidi was also one of the league leaders in card accumulation, with 11. He scored his first professional goal on 11 January 2006 in a 1–0 victory against Lille, converting a volley that was described by the media as "magnificent." Despite the impressive individual season from Matuidi, Troyes finished only one spot above the relegation zone.
Following the season, on 16 June 2006, Matuidi signed his first professional contract, agreeing to a four-year deal with Troyes despite interest from English club Charlton Athletic. Despite the firing of Furlan, Matuidi remained first-choice under new manager Denis Troch. He appeared in 35 total matches and score three goals. He also reduced his card accumulation to only six. Arguably Matuidi's greatest performance in a Troyes shirt came on 28 April 2007 against Sedan, whom Troyes were contesting a relegation battle with. With Troyes trailing 2–1 at home with 15 minutes remaining, Matuidi scored an equalizing goal in the 75th minute. Eight minutes later, he scored the winning goal to give Troyes a 3–2 victory. Matuidi scored again on the final match day of the season against Lens in a 3–0 win, however, Troyes still dropped down to Ligue 2 after finishing the season in the 18th position. The club's relegation back to Ligue 2 caused speculation regarding Matuidi's future with the club.
Despite being linked with a hosts of Ligue 1 clubs, notably Bordeaux, Lille, and AS Monaco, on 12 July 2007, it was confirmed by the media that Matuidi had agreed to join AS Saint-Étienne after agreeing to a four-year deal with the club. Upon his arrival, Matuidi was given the number 12 shirt and was inserted into the starting eleven, where he established midfield partnerships with Loïc Perrin and Christophe Landrin. He also formed a bond with former and fellow Troyen Bafétimbi Gomis, who had a breakout season. Matuidi made his club debut on 11 August 2007 in a league match against Valenciennes. He remained first-choice for the entire season under Laurent Roussey. The club's play that season culminated into a respectable fifth-place finish and qualification for the UEFA Cup.
During the 2008–09 season, Matuidi's performances caught the attention of English club Arsenal, who sent its scout Gilles Grimandi to watch him. Grimandi subsequently recommended the player to fellow Frenchman and Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. Matuidi was also tracked by Italian club Milan during the season. On 16 August 2008, he scored his first career goal for Saint-Étienne in a 2–1 win over Sochaux. Matuidi made his European debut on 18 September 2008 in the team's first leg tie in the first round of the UEFA Cup against Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv. He made eight appearances in the competition as Saint-Étienne ultimately reached the Round of 16 before suffering elimination to German club Werder Bremen. Matuidi appeared consistently in the league until receiving his first career red card in the team's 3–0 defeat to Lille. In the second half of the season, Matuidi and the club in general struggled with injuries. The team's broken collective resulted in Saint-Étienne barely avoiding relegation, having survived on the last day of the season. After the season, Matuidi announced his intent to leave the club, telling French newspaper L'Equipe, "My wish is to leave because I think it's time." Matuidi also stated that he would be happy if he remained at Saint-Étienne. After failing to receive any significant offers from clubs in the 2009 summer, sporting director Damien Comolli announced that Matuidi would remain at the club for the 2009–10 season.
Matuidi was named as the club's captain by incoming manager Alain Perrin following the first league match of the 2009–10 season due to injuries to incumbent captain Loïc Perrin. Despite Perrin returning to the team in September 2009, Matuidi still held onto the armband. Under his leadership, Saint-Étienne defeated the defending champions Bordeaux 3–1 on 3 October 2009. Following the firing of Perrin midway through the season, incoming manager Christophe Galtier returned the captaincy back to Loïc Perrin. On 18 May 2010, Matuidi was involved in a physical altercation with teammate Dimitri Payet during the team's 1–0 defeat to Toulouse. Midway through the first-half, Payet received criticism from teammate Yohan Benalouane for displaying a lack of aggression. He was then confronted by Matuidi, who echoed Benalouane's sentiments. Matuidi and Payet went face-to-face with the latter player delivering a blow to Matuidi's head before the two were separated by referee Bruno Coue and teammates. As a result of the incident, Payet was substituted out after 31 minutes and sanctioned by club President Roland Romeyer. On 6 October 2010, following both Matuidi and Payet's call up to the French national team, Matuidi described the altercation as a "lack of maturity" on both players part, while Payet described the incident as "an argument that had no place" and that "the incident was explained and the two were on new ground."
On 25 July 2011, French club Paris Saint-Germain confirmed that the club had signed Matuidi to a three-year contract as a replacement for the departed Claude Makélélé, who retired from the sport. The transfer fee was undisclosed, but is purported to be in the region of €7.5 million plus future incentives. Matuidi was presented to the media the same day alongside fellow new signing and international teammate Jérémy Ménez and was assigned the number 14 shirt. He made his club debut for the team in its 1–0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls at the Emirates Cup. Matuidi made his competitive debut for Paris Saint-Germain on 6 August 2011 in the team's opening 1–0 league defeat to Lorient. During the 2012–13 season, Matuidi scored in wins against Bastia(0–4), Troyes (4–0, 0–1), Lyon (1–0), and Brest as PSG won Ligue 1 for the first time in 19 years. He scored his first UEFA Champions League goal in a 4–0 defeat of Dinamo Zagreb at the Parc des Princes on 6 November 2013, and went on to score a stoppage time equalising goal in a 2–2 draw with FC Barcelona in the quarter-final first leg.
On 24 May 2013, Matuidi was one of five PSG players named in the Ligue 1 team of the year.
In the 2015–16 season, Matuidi was named in the UNFP Ligue 1 team of the year for the second time. On 21 May 2016, he scored the opening goal of PSG's 2016 Coupe de France Final win over Olympique de Marseille to record a second consecutive league and cup double for the club.
Matuidi is a former French youth international, having represented his nation at under-19 and under-21 level. He went unnoticed while developing at both Créteil and Troyes; after establishing himself in the 2006–07 season with the latter club, however, he was called up to the under-19 team by coach Guy Ferrier. Matuidi made his youth international debut on 5 October 2005 in a 4–0 friendly match victory over Norway. He subsequently appeared with the team in qualifying matches for the 2006 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. France ultimately failed to qualify for the competition and Matuidi finished the campaign with nine appearances and no goals.
Matuidi earned his first call up to the under-21 team under coach René Girard in the team's first match following the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship against Belgium, appearing as a half-time substitute for Jimmy Briand. He featured in qualification matches for the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship and appeared as a substitute in both legs of the team's surprising defeat to Israel in the qualifying playoffs. Matuidi was among a handful of underage players who remained with the team after its elimination appearing with the team in its first match of 2007 against Sweden, which France won 4–0. Matuidi appeared with the team in the next ten matches, which included qualifiers for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. After missing the last match of 2007, he returned to the team for their first match of 2008 against Spain. Matuidi remained with the team for the rest of the qualifying campaign. His under-21 career came to an end following the team's defeat to Germany in a two-legged play-off, which determined who would earn a berth in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship.
After failing to appear at international level for nearly two years, on 5 August 2010, Matuidi was called up to the senior team for the first time by new manager Laurent Blanc for the team's friendly match against Norway on 11 August 2010. He failed to make an appearance in the match, but was called back into the team the following month as an injury replacement for UEFA Euro 2012 qualification matches against Belarus and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Matuidi made his international debut in the team's 2–0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, appearing as a substitute. On 29 March 2011, he made his first start in the team's 0–0 draw with Croatia.
Matuidi was named in France's squad for UEFA Euro 2012 but did not make an appearance in the tournament due to injury. He appeared nine times during 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification and impressed in midfield in the team's 3–0 play-off defeat of Ukraine at the Stade de France to secure qualification.
Matuidi started alongside Paul Pogba and Yohan Cabaye in midfield in France's opening match of the tournament, a 3–0 defeat of Honduras. In the second match, Matuidi scored his first goal in a competitive international as Les Bleus beat Switzerland 5–2 and qualified for the knockout stage.
In May 2016, Matuidi was named by national side manager Deschamps to France's 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016, to be played on home soil. On 3 July, Matuidi assisted Olivier Giroud's opening goal in the quarter-finals of the tournament at the Stade de France, as the host nation defeated Iceland 5–2.
Style of play
Described as a "fierce and strong tackler", with strong defensive attributes, Matuidi is known in particular for his energy, work-rate, and tactical intelligence, which enable him to excel as a ball winner. A versatile team player, he is capable of playing in several midfield positions, and is known for his ability to carry and distribute the ball after winning back possession. His movement on the pitch and ability to make effective attacking runs also allows him to contribute to his team's offensive play, as it often draws opponents out of position, and in turn creates space for his teammates. Although his main influence is Claude Makelele, he has also been compared to Jean Tigana.
- As of 16 May 2016
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe[nb 2]||Total|
- As of 7 July 2016
- As of match played 30 May 2016. France score listed first, score column indicates score after each Matuidi goal.
|1||5 March 2014||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||20||Netherlands||2–0||2–0||Friendly|
|2||8 June 2014||Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France||23||Jamaica||2–0||8–0||Friendly|
|4||20 June 2014||Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil||25||Switzerland||2–0||5–2||2014 FIFA World Cup|
|5||7 September 2015||Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France||37||Serbia||1–0||2–1||Friendly|
|7||25 March 2016||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Netherlands||42||Netherlands||3–2||3–2||Friendly|
|8||30 May 2016||Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, France||43||Cameroon||1–0||3–2||Friendly|
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Ligue 1: 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014-15, 2015–16
- Coupe de France: 2014–15, 2015–16
- Coupe de la Ligue: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
- Trophée des champions: 2013, 2014, 2015
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