Flamini in training for Arsenal in 2015
|Full name||Mathieu Flamini|
|Date of birth||7 March 1984|
|Place of birth||Marseille, France|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:01, 7 January 2017 (UTC).
Mathieu Flamini (born 7 March 1984) is a French professional footballer and environmental entrepreneur who plays as a midfielder for Crystal Palace. Throughout his club career, he has played with French side Marseille, English side Arsenal, and Italian side Milan. At international level, he has also been capped by the France national team on three occasions in the past.
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. 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 0–2 semi-final victory over Newcastle United. He then started in the Final in Gothenburg, a match Spanish club Valencia won 2–0. Due to his age, however, Marseille was later unable to offer him a long-term professional contract.
On 23 July 2004, Flamini signed a professional contract for English club Arsenal, rejecting Marseille's long-term senior contract offer to which he had already verbally agreed. Soon after the incident, then-Marseille manager José Anigo stated, "This is a beautiful treason. He used me." Arsenal were eventually ordered by The Dispute Resolution Chamber of FIFA to pay Marseille a compensation fee of €480 000 for Flamini.
Flamini made his Arsenal debut in the 1–4 win at Everton on 15 August 2004. In his first season, he was typically used as a utility player, starting only nine games but used as a substitute in 12. The following season saw him filling in for a number of injured players, but again 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, the team's last-ever goal scored in their traditional 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 UEFA Champions League. He also scored important goals against Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool in the Premier League. Despite these important goals, however, he remained unsatisfied with his "utility player" role at the club and in April 2007, he admitted that he would most likely be leaving Arsenal in the summer. Flamini, however, 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 its 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 of the game, 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 Pirès and Thierry Henry.
Flamini, however, did indeed sign for Arsenal on 29 August 2013 and became Arsenal's second acquisition of the summer, after Yaya Sanogo. He made his returning debut on 1 September at Emirates Stadium against Tottenham Hotspur, coming on for Jack Wilshere and 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 Premier League, Football 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, the second in a 0–3 away win at Cardiff City. 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 an eventual top four league finish. At the start of Arsenal's 2013–14 FA Cup run, Flamini expressed his desire to win the Cup, having been left out of the squad when Arsenal won the 2005 FA Cup Final. Arsenal went on to win the tournament, though Flamini was an unused substitute in the Final, also remaining on the substitutes' bench when Arsenal repeated the feat, becoming FA Cup champions again in 2015.
On 23 September 2015, Flamini earned his first start of the 2015–16 season in the Football League Cup third round tie against Tottenham Hotspur. He scored both of Arsenal's goals with a Man of the Match performance.
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
A combative, energetic and tenacious midfielder, according to Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, Flamini is a player with a fantastic work rate, good ball-winning ability and great mentality; he can play anywhere across midfield, in the centre as a box-to-box or defensive midfielder, or on either flank as a cover at full-back.
It was revealed in November 2015 that Flamini was a cofounder of GF Biochemicals, a company that had earlier that year announced that it was able to produce levulinic acid on a commercial scale, becoming the world's leader in the manufacture of that substance.
- As of match played 18 January 2017
|Club||Season||League||Cup[nb 1]||Europe||Other[nb 2]||Total|
|Crystal Palace||2016–17||Premier League||6||0||2||0||—||8||0|
- Includes cup competitions: the Coppa Italia, Football League Cup and FA Cup. Super Cups such as the FA Community Shield are not included.
- Includes super-cups such as the FA Community Shield and Supercoppa Italiana.
- As of 10 September 2008
|France national team|
- FA Cup (3): 2004–05, 2013–14, 2014–15
- FA Community Shield (3): 2004, 2014, 2015
- UEFA Champions League: Runner-up 2005–06
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