Henrikh Mkhitaryan

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Algérie - Arménie - 20140531 - Henrikh Mkhitaryan.jpg
Mkhitaryan with Armenia in 2014
Personal information
Full name Henrikh Mkhitaryan[1]
Date of birth (1989-01-21) 21 January 1989 (age 28)
Place of birth Yerevan, Armenian SSR,
Soviet Union
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Winger
Club information
Current team
Manchester United
Number 22
Youth career
1995–2006 Pyunik
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2006–2009 Pyunik 70 (30)
2009–2010 Metalurh Donetsk 37 (12)
2010–2013 Shakhtar Donetsk 72 (38)
2013–2016 Borussia Dortmund 90 (23)
2016– Manchester United 24 (4)
National team
2006–2007 Armenia U17 5 (1)
2007–2008 Armenia U19 6 (1)
2008–2010 Armenia U21 13 (9)
2007– Armenia 64 (22)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:48, 17 May 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:45, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Armenian: Հենրիխ Մխիթարյան, [hɛnˈɾiχ məχitʰɑˈɾjɑn]; born 21 January 1989) is an Armenian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for English club Manchester United, as well as captaining the Armenia national team. Mkhitaryan is Armenia's all-time top goalscorer, scoring 22 goals in 64 international matches since his debut in January 2007, including their first hat-trick. His previous clubs include Pyunik, where he came through the youth system, Metalurh Donetsk, Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund.[3]

Mkhitaryan has been chosen Armenian Footballer of the Year seven times (every year since 2009, except 2010). In 2012, he was voted as the best Shakhtar player of the 2011–12 season by the fans, and was named Ukrainian Premier League Footballer of the Year. In 2012, Mkhitaryan was named in UEFA's Top 100 players by UEFA European Football Yearbook 2012–13.[4] Mkhitaryan was voted the CIS Footballer of the Year for 2012, making him the first Armenian footballer to be named the best player from post-Soviet countries.[5] He received the award again for 2013.[6] Mkhitaryan is known by two nicknames, such as Heno (in Armenia) and Micki (in Europe).

Early life[edit]

Mkhitaryan was born on 21 January 1989 in the Armenian capital Yerevan to Marina Taschyan and Hamlet Mkhitaryan, a prominent striker of FC Ararat Yerevan during the 1980s, who died of a brain tumor at age 33 when Henrikh was seven years old.[7] The death of his father impacted Mkhitaryan greatly. He feels that if his father was still alive, "everything would be different." He gave him useful advice from a professional point of view. People who have watched Mkhitaryan and his father, say that their styles resemble each other very much. He has said, "I believe he sees me and is proud of me…"[8][9] His mother is the head of the national teams department in the Armenian Football Federation and his elder sister, Monica, works at UEFA's headquarters.[10]

At the beginning of the 1990s, the Mkhitaryan family moved to France, where Hamlet Mkhitaryan played for the now defunct ASOA Valence and helped them to be promoted to the second division. Mkhitaryan spent his early childhood in Valence.[11] He always wanted to become a football player and began to follow in his father's footsteps. As a child, he would watch his father play and always wanted to follow him to training. The Mkhitaryans returned to Yerevan in 1995. In the same year Mkhitaryan joined the youth system of FC Pyunik. He graduated from the Institute of Physical Culture in Armenia. He studied economics at the Yerevan branch of the St. Petersburg Institute. Upon graduation, he plans to study there as a lawyer.[12][13] In 2003, Mkhitaryan, aged 14 had trials with São Paulo in Brazil where he played alongside the likes of Hernanes and Oscar.[14] He returned to Pyunik in 2004, then manager Mihai Stoichiță insisted on his return to Armenia. Growing up, Mkhitaryan considered Zinedine Zidane his football idol.[15]

Club career[edit]

Pyunik[edit]

Mkhitaryan joined the FC Pyunik youth system in 1995 and received his first salary at the age of 15.[16] He was later promoted to the first team of FC Pyunik, making his professional debut in 2006 at the age of 17. He last played for the club in the 2009 season. During that season he scored 11 league goals in 10 league games. In his four seasons in the Pyunik first team, they won the Armenian Premier League on four occasions (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009). They also won the Armenian Supercup twice (2007 and 2009) and the Armenian Cup once (2009). Armenian national team and Pyunik head coach Vardan Minasyan admitted that he would love to see his star player "playing in a stronger league." Minasyan stated young Henrikh was well on his way to becoming a legend in his own right. He said of Mkhitaryan, "He can win games on his own. He seizes control at the crucial moment and scores for fun."[17]

Due to his success in the 2009 Armenian Premier League at Pyunik Yerevan, he joined Ukrainian Premier League club Metalurh Donetsk.

Metalurh Donetsk[edit]

Mkhitaryan playing for Metalurh Donetsk in 2009

Mkhitaryan joined Metalurh Donetsk. He scored a goal on his debut in a 3–0 victory against Belarusian Premier League side FC Partizan Minsk, in the Europa League on 16 July 2009.[18] On 19 July 2009, he made his league debut in a 0–0 draw with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.[19] His first league goal came in a 2–2 draw with Karpaty Lviv on 26 July 2009.[20] On 6 August 2009, he scored the first goal in a 3–0 second leg Europa League win against Slovenian Interblock Ljubljana, winning 5–0 on aggregate.[21]

The following season he was named captain of the club on 14 July 2010, at the age 21, making him the youngest captain in Metalurh Donetsk history.[22] He scored his first goal of the season, an 89th-minute penalty, in a 3–0 victory over Obolon Kyiv on 16 July 2010.[23] He played his final match for the club in a 2–1 win against Dnipro on 30 August 2010.[24] In his second season, he played eight matches and scored three goals, all of which were in the league. He made 37 league appearances during his time at Metalurh, scoring 12 goals.[25] In total he played 45 matches for the club, scoring 16 times.

Shakhtar Donetsk[edit]

2010–11 season[edit]

Mkhitaryan training with Shakhtar in 2010

On 30 August 2010, he sealed a $7.5 million switch to reigning Premier League champions Shakhtar Donetsk.[26] Before signing with Shakhtar, Mikhtaryan was in trial with Iran Pro League side Mes Kerman which he was rejected by head coach Samad Marfavi.[27] His debut came on 10 September 2010 in a 1–0 away league defeat to Obolon Kyiv, being replaced after 62 minutes by Eduardo.[28] His home debut was more successful, with Shakhtar coming back from a goal behind to win 4–1 against Tavriya Simferopol on 19 September 2010.[29] He scored his first goal for the club in this match. Three days later he made his first appearance in the Ukrainian Cup, netting the second goal in a 6–0 win over Kryvbas.[30] On 25 September 2010, he scored a late injury time winner in a 2–1 away victory over Metalist Kharkiv.[31] He made his European debut for the club in the Champions League on 28 September 2010 against Sporting Braga winning 3–0.[32] He made an appearance in the 2–0 Ukrainian Cup Final victory against Dynamo Kyiv, coming on in the 81st minute in place of Jádson.[33] His first season with the club was extremely successful for Shakhtar as they won the treble (Premier League, Ukrainian Cup and the Super Cup).[34]

2011–12 season[edit]

Mkhitaryan playing for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2011

In the 2011–12 season Shakhtar won the Premier League and the Ukrainian Cup.[35] Mkhitaryan scored the third goal in a 4–0 win against Obolon Kyiv in his first league match of the season.[36] On 4 March 2012, he scored the equalizing goal in a 1–1 draw with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.[37] He scored the only goal in a cup victory over Metalurh Zaporizhya on 11 April 2012.[38] On 6 May 2012, he played a part in Shakhtar's 2–1 extra time victory over his former team Metalurh Donetsk in the Ukrainian Cup Final, coming off after 62 minutes for Douglas Costa.[39] In an online poll on Shakhtar Donetsk's official website, Mkhitaryan was voted as the best player of Shakhtar in 2011–12 Premier League season with about 38% of total votes.[40] He scored 11 goals in 37 matches, including 10 goals in 26 league matches. Shakhtar retained the Premier League and the Ukrainian Cup in the 2011–12 season.[35]

2012–13 season[edit]

"It wasn't easy for him from the start, but his integration was speeded up by his high level of football intelligence. His game awareness is perhaps his most valuable quality – that and the speed and power and technique Henrikh was gifted by nature and that he's developed. Because of those virtues, he's one of the players who most consistently fulfils the tasks set by the coaching staff. Working with him is fun."
Mircea Lucescu, Mkhitaryan's manager at Shakhtar Donetsk in June 2013.[41]

Mkhitaryan played in Shakhtar's 2–0 2012 Super Cup victory over Metalurh Donetsk.[42] In his first match of the 2012–13 Premier League season, he scored twice and provided two assists in a 6–0 season opening victory against Arsenal Kyiv.[43] He managed a hat-trick against Chornomorets Odesa[44] in a 5–1 win to reach 10 goals for the season after just six games, equaling his tally for the previous season. On 19 September 2012, in Shakhtar's first Champions League match of the season, Mkhitaryan scored twice in a 2–0 victory over Danish champions Nordsjælland.[45] This was the first time he had scored a goal in the Champions League and he was named Man of the Match.[46] He was also named in the Team of the Week for match day 1 of the Champions League after his brace against Nordsjælland.[47][48] On 16 March 2013, Mkhitaryan played his 100th game in the Ukrainian Premier League in a match against Chornomorets Odesa.[49][50]

On 11 May 2013, Mkhitaryan scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the Premier League season in a 5–0 victory over Tavria. These goals set a Ukrainian Premier League record for most goals in a season.[51][52] Mkhitaryan finished the season with 25 league goals, and the attacking midfielder was praised for his technique and dedication.[53]

Borussia Dortmund[edit]

2013–14 season[edit]

On 25 June 2013, Borussia Dortmund made a €25 million ($30 million) bid,[54][55] but in confirming the offer Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin insisted that it fell short of the club's valuation, which was a single payment of €30 million ($36 million). In the same press conference, Palkin confirmed the acquisition of Brazilian Fred from Sport Club Internacional for €15 million (£12.5 million), a likely replacement.[56] On 5 July 2013, it was reported that Borussia Dortmund had succeeded in talks with Shakhtar and Mkhitaryan was on his way to Germany for a medical test.[57][58][59] On 8 July 2013, Borussia Dortmund announced that it was set to sign a four-year deal with Mkhitaryan for €25 million (£21.5 million)[60][61][62][63] Shakhtar and Borussia officially "resolved all the necessary formalities" and agreed on €27.5 million (£23.6 million),[64][65] making him the most expensive purchase in the club's history.[66]

On his debut in a pre-season friendly against FC Basel on 10 July 2013, Mkhitaryan set up a goal for Marco Reus in the 11th minute and scored his first goal for the club 16 minutes later, helping his side to a 3–1 victory away at St. Jakob-Park.[67][68][69] Mkhitaryan couldn't take part and wasn't listed in the squad at the 2013 DFL-Supercup which his club won due to an injury he received on a friendly game before that. Mkhitaryan debuted for BVB following his return from a three weeks sustained injury in the second round of 2013–14 Bundesliga on 18 August 2013 in a BVB victory over Eintracht Braunschweig at BVB's Signal Iduna Park.[70] Mkhitaryan's first two Bundesliga goals were decisive in a 2–1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt to keep Dortmund in first place in the Bundesliga.[71] His first Champions League goal for Dortmund came in a 2–1 away win against Arsenal.

Mkhitaryan finished his season with nine goals and ten assists in the Bundesliga and was included in the WhoScored Bundesliga Team of the Season.[72][73] His team finished runner-up at the 2013–14 Bundesliga, and runner-up for the 2013–14 DFB-Pokal.

2014–15 season[edit]

The first trophy Mkhitaryan won with Dortmund was the 2014 DFL-Supercup, scoring the first goal in the 2–0 victory over Bayern Munich.[74] In September 2014, Mkhitaryan suffered an injury that sidelined him for a month[75] and on 13 December 2014 he was injured again.[76] He scored the second goal of a 3–0 win against rivals Schalke 04 on 28 February 2015.[77]

2015–16 season[edit]

On 6 August 2015, Dortmund played against Wolfsberger AC in the third qualifying round second leg of the Europa League, Thomas Tuchel's first home match as coach. Mkhitaryan scored a late hat-trick for a 5–0 victory, 6–0 on aggregate.[78] Three days later, he scored the second goal in a 2–0 win at 3. Liga club Chemnitzer FC in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.[79] On 15 August 2015, Mkhitaryan scored a brace in a 4–0 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the first league game of the season.[80] Five days later, he headed the winning goal as Dortmund came from 3–0 down to win 4–3 at Odds BK in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.[81]

In the second round of the domestic cup on 28 October 2015, Mkhitaryan scored the final goal of a 7–1 rout of SC Paderborn 07.[82] Eight days later, his goal confirmed a 4–0 home win over Gabala FK, securing a place in the last 32 of the Europa League.[83]

On 20 April 2016, Mkhitaryan was one of three goalscorers as Borussia won 3–0 away at Hertha BSC in the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal.[84]

At the end of the season, Mkhitaryan was voted the Bundesliga Players' Player of the Season.[85][86] He finished the league as the assist leader with 15 assists.[87][88]

Manchester United[edit]

Mkhitaryan celebrating a goal for Manchester United in 2016.

On 2 July 2016, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said that the sale of Mkhitaryan to England's Manchester United would be inevitable as the player would leave for free had he stayed one more year.[89] Four days later, Mkhitaryan joined them on a four-year contract for a transfer fee reported variously as between £27 million and £30 million,[90][91] with the option to extend for a further year.[92] He became the first Armenian to join a Premier League club.[93]

Mkhitaryan made his debut in a 2–0 victory in a pre-season match against Wigan Athletic on 15 July 2016.[94] On 7 August 2016, he made his competitive debut as a stoppage-time substitute in a 2–1 victory against Leicester City in the 2016 FA Community Shield.[95] He became the first Armenian to play in the Premier League on 14 August 2016 when he came on as a 75th-minute substitute for Juan Mata in a 3–1 away victory against Bournemouth.[96][97] He made his first Premier League start for Manchester United in the Manchester derby on 10 September 2016, but he was substituted at half-time.[98]

On 8 December 2016, Mkhitaryan scored his first goal for the club, away against Zorya Luhansk, in Manchester United's last group match of the Europa League.[99] Three days later, in United's next game, Mkhitaryan scored his first Premier League goal (and his first goal at Old Trafford) in a 1–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur; however, he left the game in the second half after suffering an ankle injury in a tackle by Danny Rose.[100] He returned from this injury two matches later, coming off the bench to score United's third goal against Sunderland, a scorpion kick which he described as being the best goal he had ever scored.[101] He scored in the 2017 Europa League final to help Manchester United beat Ajax 2–0,[102] and became the first Armenian to win a major European trophy.[103]

International career[edit]

Mkhitaryan with Armenia in 2014

Mkhitaryan debuted for the Armenia national team in an away friendly match against Panama on 14 January 2007.[104]

He scored six goals for Armenia in UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying Group B, thus becoming top goalscorer in that group.[105] Although Armenia did not advance past the qualifying stage for UEFA Euro 2012, Mkhitaryan's performances landed him in the UEFA Euro 2012 Qualifying Dream Team with six goals.

On 10 September 2013, in the absence of regular skipper goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky, Mkhitaryan captained his country for the first time, as they lost 0–1 at home to Denmark in World Cup qualification.[106] He became the top scorer in the history of the Armenian national team, after scoring his 12th goal for the national team in a 1–3 defeat to Italy in another qualifier on 15 October. This surpassed the 11 scored for the nation by Artur Petrosyan.[107]

On 27 May 2014, he scored twice in a 4–3 friendly win against the United Arab Emirates at the Stade de la Fontenette in Carouge, Switzerland.[108] Two years and a day later, he scored Armenia's first international hat-trick in a 7–1 friendly win over Guatemala in Los Angeles.[109]

Style of play[edit]

Mkhitaryan is an attacking midfielder, who is also capable of playing as a second striker or as a winger. He excels playing in a central role, just behind the strikers, where he often looks to link up with his teammates in and around the penalty area. He is known for his ability to draw away opposing defenders and, in turn, create space for his teammates to exploit, leading to goal scoring opportunities, courtesy of his offensive movement, technique, and vision. Mkhitaryan has also been praised for his precise passing, dribbling ability, creativity, ball control and work rate, as well as his eye for the final pass; his skill and trickery on the ball enables him to beat defenders in one on one situations. Furthermore, he possesses an accurate shot.[110][111]

During the 2012–13 season, former Scottish footballer Pat Nevin said of Mkhitaryan, "Eleven goals in eight league matches already is fantastic, but when you add that he is a midfielder, it is phenomenal. You may not have heard of him yet, even if all the scouts at the top European clubs have, but you soon will. He has pace, skill, a rocket of a shot and the ability to arrive in the box like Frank Lampard. This all singles him out as a player who must be watched or more importantly marked."[112]

Personal life[edit]

Mkhitaryan has been nicknamed Heno (Հենո), short for Henrikh, by his fans in Armenia, which he has embraced.[113] He is known in Europe as Micki. Mkhitaryan revealed in an interview that it was Jürgen Klopp who gave him that nickname when he moved to Borussia as his surname is too long to pronounce. Mkhitaryan responded that it is ok to use that nickname.[114][115] His verified Instagram account is named micki_taryan.[116]

Mkhitaryan is a polyglot,[117] who speaks seven languages: Armenian, French, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, English, and German. He attributes his knowledge of Russian to his maternal grandmother, who was of Russian ethnicity.[118][119][120] He learned the first three languages in his childhood, while the latter four he picked up playing in Ukraine, Germany, and England.[103] Shakhtar's Donbass Arena has a tradition of playing music each time home players score goals, with a track corresponding to the nationality of a scorer. "Sabre Dance" by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian was played whenever Mkhitaryan scored. This song became very popular in Donetsk due to Mkhitaryan scoring frequently.[10][121]

In 2012, by the decision of the Yerevan City Council, and in connection with the city's 2794th anniversary, Mkhitaryan was awarded with the "Honorary Citizen of Yerevan" title, for his great success in football and his brilliant achievements in sports.[122]

Mkhitaryan has visited Nagorno-Karabakh three times on charity visits. In December 2011, Mkhitaryan visited Stepanakert, capital of the disputed territory, and donated gifts to the families of fallen soldiers. He was subsequently awarded the NKR Prime Minister’s medal.[123]

Had he not been a football player, Mkhitaryan stated that he would have been a sprinter.[124]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 24 May 2017[125]
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Pyunik 2006 Armenian Premier League 12 1 0 0 12 1
2007 Armenian Premier League 24 12 0 0 4 0 28 12
2008 Armenian Premier League 24 6 5 3 2 0 31 9
2009 Armenian Premier League 10 11 6 2 16 13
Total 70 30 11 5 6 0 87 35
Metalurh Donetsk 2009–10 Ukrainian Premier League 29 9 2 0 6 4 37 13
2010–11 Ukrainian Premier League 8 3 0 0 8 3
Total 37 12 2 0 6 4 45 16
Shakhtar Donetsk 2010–11 Ukrainian Premier League 17 3 3 1 7 0 27 4
2011–12 Ukrainian Premier League 26 10 4 1 6 0 1 0 37 11
2012–13 Ukrainian Premier League 29 25 4 2 8 2 1 0 42 29
Total 72 38 11 4 21 2 2 0 106 44
Borussia Dortmund 2013–14 Bundesliga 31 9 5 2 10 2 0 0 46 13
2014–15 Bundesliga 28 3 6 1 7 0 1 1 42 5
2015–16 Bundesliga 31 11 6 5 15 7 52 23
Total 90 23 17 8 32 9 1 1 140 41
Manchester United 2016–17 Premier League 24 4 3 1 2 0 11 6 1 0 41 11
Total 24 4 3 1 2 0 11 6 1 0 41 11
Career total 293 107 44 18 2 0 76 21 4 1 419 147

International[edit]

As of match played 10 June 2017[126]
Armenia
Year Apps Goals
2007 2 0
2008 5 0
2009 7 1
2010 5 3
2011 8 4
2012 8 2
2013 8 2
2014 7 4
2015 6 0
2016 5 3
2017 3 3
Total 64 22

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Pyunik[127]
Shakhtar Donetsk[127]
Borussia Dortmund[127]
Manchester United[128]

Individual[edit]

Orders[edit]

  • «Հայրենիքին մատուցած ծառայությունների համար» 1-ին աստիճանի մեդալի ժապավեն.gif First-Class Medal of Services to the Motherland (2017)[144][145]

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