Elia at practice with Hamburger SV in 2009.
|Full name||Eljero George Rinaldo Elia|
|Date of birth||13 February 1987|
|Place of birth||Voorburg, Netherlands|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|1996–2000||ADO Den Haag|
|2002–2004||ADO Den Haag|
|2004–2007||ADO Den Haag||59||(6)|
|2015||→ Southampton (loan)||16||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 January 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 14 November 2012
He turned professional at ADO Den Haag and then played for Twente before moving abroad to represent Hamburger SV, Juventus and Werder Bremen. In 2015, he came back to his home country to play for Feyenoord.
ADO Den Haag
Before excelling in the ADO Den Haag youth team at the age of nine, Elia played for many amateur clubs. He made his professional debut in 2004 against Groningen when he was just 17 years old. In that season, he played four matches and scored one goal (his first professional goal) for Den Haag against AZ. From then on, Elia established himself in the first team at ADO Den Haag.
Besides Twente, Ajax were also keen to sign the player. However, had Elia chosen Ajax, he would have first been loaned back to ADO Den Haag where he would not have the chance to play due to conflicts with the coach. Furthermore, ADO Den Haag were relegated and Elia did not want to play in the Eerste Divisie.
Elia made his Twente debut in a 2–2 draw against Utrecht on 26 August 2007. He scored his first goal in a 2–1 win over Heracles Almelo on 8 February 2008 and scored another in a 2–1 win over Ajax the following month. In his first season at the club, Elia made 30 appearances and scored twice in the League qualifying round.
Under new manager Steve McClaren, Elia improved and went on a goalscoring run with 11 goals. Elia made his UEFA Champions League debut in the third qualifying round against Arsenal, where Twente lost in both legs. Despite the club's elimination, the club progressed to the UEFA Cup group stage. He scored his first European goal in a 3–2 loss against Manchester City on 6 November 2008. Twente, however, lost in the third round knock-out stage against Marseille. In the KNVB Cup, Twente progressed to the final against Heerenveen. In the final, Elia scored the club's first goal in the match. However, they on penalties after Youssouf Hersi missed a penalty. Elia was named the Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2009 and this added to his burgeoning reputation in Europe.
In the January transfer window, Ajax and PSV were linked with a move to sign Elia. Ajax had their bid rejected twice by the club in effort to sign Elia. Elia ended speculation by signing a new contract at Twente, keeping him until 2013. Two months after signing a new contract, Elia announced his intention to leave the club at the end of the season.
On 5 July 2009, Elia joined Hamburger SV on a five-year contract that cost €8.5 million. On 8 August 2009, he made his debut as a substitute in the first match of the season against SC Freiburg. He scored his first league debut goal in a 4–2 win over VfL Wolfsburg on 23 August 2009. Five months later, he scored a brace and set up a goal in a 4–0 win over 1. FC Nürnberg. Elia scored his first Europa League goal in a 4–2 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv on 1 October 2009. In a 1–1 draw at Mainz 05 on 28 November 2009, Elia suffered an ankle injury in the 15th minute. He missed the rest of the season following an ankle surgery, which manager Bruno Labbadia described as a "bitter blow".
During his first season, in March 2010, Elia had a severe infection due to a poorly applied tattoo, which meant he felt uncomfortable in his shirt. As a result, Hamburg's neighbours Werder Bremen have since banned their players from getting tattoos. In his debut season, Elia made 24 appearances and scored five goals. At the end of the season, Elia was linked with several clubs such as Juventus, but insisted he knew nothing about a move and wanted to stay at Hamburg for another season.
In his second season, Elia was rotated and played less frequently, which led him to consider leaving the club if he did not regain his starting position. In his third season, Elia made four appearances before moving to Juventus. While at Hamburg, Elia was fined by the club after he stated that the club's team style didn't suit him and claimed the club did not look after him while on the sideline.
On 31 August 2011, Juventus confirmed the signing of Elia from Hamburg on a four-year contract for a fee of €9 million. Elia made his Juventus debut on 25 September 2011 in a 1–1 draw against Catania. Elia, however, found it hard to make an impact in the black and white shirt and featured only four times in the whole season. Despite Juventus winning the Serie A title without losing a game, Elia announced he wanted to leave the club in order to revive his career elsewhere. The following month, on 11 June 2012, Elia handed in a transfer request which was granted by Juventus.
On 9 July 2012, Werder Bremen confirmed the signing of Elia from Juventus on a four-year contract for a fee of €5.5 million. After moving to Bremen, Elia said he hoped that he could resurrect his form and aimed to earn an international call-up. He appeared in his first game for Bremen in a 2–1 loss in the opening game of the season against Borussia Dortmund. After making seven appearances with no goals, Elia admitted he found it difficult to adapt to the club's playing style. Despite this, he made 21 appearances for the club that season. He and teammate Marko Arnautović were suspended after the pair were caught speeding in two separate incidents.
In the 2013–14 season, Elia started strongly when he scored two goals and his first for Bremen against 1. FC Nürnberg in a 3-3 draw on 29 September 2013. He then scored two goals in two matches against Mainz 05 on 24 November 2013, when Bremen lost 3–2, and in a 4–4 draw against 1899 Hoffenheim on 30 November 2013. The 2013–14 season was an improvement for Elia, as he made 33 appearances and scored four times. His improvement led the club to decide against selling him.
In the 2014–15 season, Elia made a good start in the opening game of the season, where he provided an assist for Franco Di Santo in a 2–2 draw against Hertha BSC. Elia's season, however, was interrupted when he missed a game due to gastrointestinal virus before causing controversy on social media when he tweeted the words "Ready for War" ahead of the Nordderby. In December 2014, manager Viktor Skrypnyk decided to drop Elia from the first team matchday squad.
Upon returning to his parent club from Southampton in the summer of 2015, Werder exempted Elia from regular first-team training to find a new club and also considered placing him into the club's reserve.
On 23 December 2014, Southampton announced that Elia would join them on loan from 3 January 2015 for the remainder of the season, with an option to make the loan permanent at the end of the season.
On 11 January 2015, Elia made his Premier League debut for Southampton in a 1–0 win away to Manchester United at Old Trafford; he was replaced by substitute Dušan Tadić after 63 minutes, who went on to score the winning goal. Elia scored his first Premier League goals with a brace in a 2–1 victory at Newcastle United on 17 January. After making 13 appearances and scoring twice, Elia was keen to stay at the club permanently, with Werder Bremen's chief director claiming Southampton wanted to sign him.
On 6 August 2015, Elia signed a two year-deal with Dutch side Feyenoord under the management of former Arsenal player Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Elia made his debut for the club on 30 August in a 3–1 loss to rivals PSV. In 2016, Elia, playing as a starting regular for the Rotterdam-based outfit, won the KNVB Cup, the club's 12th title.
On 7 March 2016, Elia was brought in for questioning and arrested for his alleged involvement in a brawl in the Rotterdam city centre the week before.
Elia first appeared for the Netherlands national under-19 team in 2005, a year after his debut as a professional. He developed rapidly and at the beginning of 2006, he was selected for the U21 side. He was selected by coach Bert van Marwijk for the senior team's friendly encounter with England.
On 6 September 2009, Elia made his debut for the Netherlands against Japan in a friendly match. He came on at half-time replacing Arjen Robben. His first match for the Oranje went very well, and he produced two assists in a 3–0 victory. In his second match, on 9 September 2009, Elia scored the only goal to win a match against Scotland. He scored his second international goal in a 6–1 friendly win over Hungary with a solo effort after coming on as a substitute.
2010 World Cup
On 27 May 2010, Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk announced that Elia would be part of the 23-man final squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In the first match, he set up their second goal in a 2–0 win over Denmark, with his shot hitting the post and Dirk Kuyt tapping it in. In Durban, during the Netherlands' second match of the group stage, Elia came on as a substitute in the 72nd minute, after the Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima fumbled a powerful effort by Wesley Sneijder into the back of the net to give the Dutch a 1–0 lead after 53 minutes. In the 66th minute of the Netherlands' final group stage match against Cameroon, Elia came on as a substitute for Kuyt.
- Updated to games played 27 March 2015.
|1||9 September 2009||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||Scotland||1–0||1–0||2010 World Cup qualification|
|2||5 June 2010||Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam, Netherlands||Hungary||5–1||6–1||Friendly|
- As of 29 January 2017.
|ADO Den Haag||2004–05||4||1||0||0||—||4||1|
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- Includes KNVB Cup and DFB-Pokal
- Includes UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Intertoto Cup, UEFA Super Cup
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