Mathieu Flamini

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Mathieu Flamini
Flamini in training for Arsenal in 2015
Personal information
Full name Mathieu Pierre Flamini[1]
Date of birth (1984-03-07) 7 March 1984 (age 40)
Place of birth Marseille, France
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1992–2003 Marseille
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 Marseille 14 (0)
2004–2008 Arsenal 102 (7)
2008–2013 Milan 97 (7)
2013–2016 Arsenal 66 (3)
2016–2017 Crystal Palace 10 (0)
2018–2019 Getafe 18 (0)
Total 307 (17)
International career
2004–2005 France U21 8 (1)
2007–2008 France 3 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Mathieu Pierre Flamini (born 7 March 1984) is a French former professional footballer and biochemical entrepreneur. A midfielder, he played for French side Marseille, English sides Arsenal and Crystal Palace, Italian side Milan and Spanish side Getafe. At international level, he was capped by the France national team on three occasions.

Flamini is a co-founder of GF Biochemicals, the first company in the world able to mass-produce levulinic acid.[3]

Club career[edit]


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 2–0 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."[4] Arsenal were eventually ordered by The Dispute Resolution Chamber of FIFA to pay Marseille a compensation fee of €480 000 for Flamini.[5]

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.[6] 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."[7]


Flamini with David Beckham and Filippo Inzaghi in action for Milan, celebrating a goal against Torino in the Serie A, at the San Siro.

Flamini signed a contract with Italian club Milan on 5 May 2008.[8][9] Flamini wore the number 84 on his shirt to represent his year of birth.

He made his Serie A debut on 30 August 2008 in a 2–1 loss to Bologna.[10] 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.[citation needed] Flamini spent the entire 2011–12 season out.[citation needed]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

Return to Arsenal[edit]

Flamini in 2015

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.

Flamini, however, did indeed sign for Arsenal on 29 August 2013 and became Arsenal's second acquisition of the summer, after Yaya Sanogo.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

Late career[edit]

Flamini signed as a free-agent for Crystal Palace at the beginning of the 2016–17 season,[18] and released by the club at the season's end.[19] He joined Getafe in February 2018,[20] making eight appearances in La Liga before leaving the club at the end of the season.[21] He rejoined Getafe in December 2018,[22] and retired from playing in 2019.[23]

International career[edit]

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.[24]

Style of play[edit]

A combative, energetic, tactically intelligent, and tenacious midfielder,[15][25] 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.[26][27][28][29]

Business career[edit]

Flamini is a partner of GF Biochemicals, a leading global producer of levulinic acid and derivatives. He has stated[30] that “we founded GFBiochemicals with the ambition of finding sustainable alternatives to oil-based products”. Levulinic acid includes[31] grass or woodchips, and can be used in plastics, solvents, fuels and the pharmaceutical industry. Levulinic acid has been identified by the U.S. Department of Energy[32] as one of the 12 molecules that can help unlock a “greener” world. In addition to GFBiochemicals’ established presence in the Netherlands[33] and headquarters in Italy, Flamini has named[34] China and Brazil as potential new markets for expansion. In 2016, GFBiochemicals[33] fully controls the Segetis, the leading producer of levulinic acid derivatives, in a move towards downstream integration. Segitis was previously owned by Sabic, DSM, and Kosla Ventures, among other entities, and has invested[35] in R&D over the past decade. In 2017, GFBiochemicals announced[36] that it will build a cellulosic biorefinery in the US, in partnership with biotech company American Process. Flamini was also part of the team that created BIOCIRCE (Bioeconomy in the Circular economy),[37] Europe’s first master's degree dedicated to promoting bioeconomy education. It was launched in collaboration with Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Novamont (a producer of bioplastics), and the Universities of Naples, Torino, Milano Bicocca and Bologna. In addition, Flamini co-founded The BioJournal[38] the world’s first e-magazine devoted entirely to the bio world and eco-sustainability and managed by Italian environmental journalist Mario Bonaccorso.[39] Flamini is also part of the Environmental Excellence Committee for the candidature of Paris as the location for the 2024 Summer Olympics.[40]

In 2015, Flamini was named one of People of the Year by the NME.[41]

Career statistics[edit]



Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Europe Other[nb 2] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Marseille 2003–04 Ligue 1 14 0 1 0 9 0 24 0
Total 14 0 1 0 9 0 24 0
Arsenal 2004–05 Premier League 21 1 7 0 4 0 0 0 32 1
2005–06 Premier League 31 0 5 0 12 0 1 0 49 0
2006–07 Premier League 20 3 6 0 6 1 32 4
2007–08 Premier League 30 3 2 0 8 0 40 3
Total 102 7 20 0 30 1 1 0 153 8
Milan 2008–09 Serie A 29 0 1 0 7 0 37 0
2009–10 Serie A 25 0 2 1 5 0 32 1
2010–11 Serie A 23 2 2 0 5 0 30 2
2011–12 Serie A 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1
2012–13 Serie A 18 4 1 0 3 0 22 4
Total 97 7 6 1 20 0 0 0 123 8
Arsenal 2013–14 Premier League 27 2 3 0 6 0 36 2
2014–15 Premier League 23 1 2 0 7 0 1 0 33 1
2015–16 Premier League 16 0 4 2 4 0 0 0 24 2
Total 66 3 9 2 17 0 1 0 93 5
Arsenal total 168 10 29 2 47 1 2 0 246 13
Crystal Palace 2016–17 Premier League 10 0 3 0 13 0
Getafe 2017–18 La Liga 8 0 0 0 8 0
2018–19 La Liga 10 0 3 0 13 0
Total 18 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 21 0
Career total 307 17 42 3 76 1 2 0 427 21
  1. ^ Includes cup competitions: the Coppa Italia, Football League Cup and FA Cup. Super Cups such as the FA Community Shield are not included.
  2. ^ Includes super-cups such as the FA Community Shield and Supercoppa Italiana.


Appearances and goals by national team and year[44]

National team Year Apps Goals
France 2007 1 0
2008 2 0
Total 3 0







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  2. ^ "Mathieu Flamini".
  3. ^ Stacey, Kiran; Correspondent, Energy (16 May 2016). "From the pitch to the boardroom". Financial Times. ISSN 0307-1766. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
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  5. ^ Baron, Thomas (15 October 2010). "Transferts – Arsenal flaire le bon coup Stéphane Sparagna (Olympique de Marseille)". Euro Sport (in French). Retrieved 17 May 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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  7. ^ "Mathieu Flamini interview". BBC Sport. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 23 April 2009.
  8. ^ Burt, Jason (28 April 2008). "Young Gunner Flamini agrees to join Milan". Independent. UK. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Flamini seals switch to AC Milan". BBC News. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  10. ^ Bologna ruin Ronaldinho debut.
  11. ^ "Arsenal sign their former midfielder Mathieu Flamini on a free transfer". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 March 2023.
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  13. ^ "AC Milan tops Fiorentina: Serie A". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
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  15. ^ a b Magowan, Alistair (1 September 2013). "Arsenal 1–0 Tottenham". BBC. BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Flamini eyes second FA Cup triumph". 4 January 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  17. ^ Lane, David Hytner at White Hart (23 September 2015). "Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini rediscovers scoring flair to down Tottenham". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
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  24. ^ France 2–1 Maroc,, 16 November 2007, accessed 17 November 2007.
  25. ^ Marco Pasotto (17 July 2008). ""Abbiamo cercato di coprire tutte le carenze e sulla carta ci siamo riusciti. Se Ronaldinho porta qualità, Antonini e Zambrotta portano dinamismo, Flamini intelligenza tattica, Borriello forza e potenza"" (in Italian). La Gazzetta dello Sport. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
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  29. ^ Steve Wilson (1 May 2008). "Adebayor warns Arsenal as Flamini nears exit". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Arsenal Star Mathieu Flamini Buys Stake in U.S. Green Chemical Firm". 19 February 2016.
  31. ^ "Mathieu Flamini: Arsenal's biochemical midfielder". BBC News. 14 April 2016.
  32. ^ "U.S Department of Energy" (PDF). Ascension
  33. ^ a b "Footballer's Green Chemical Company Signs Deal for Biorefinery".
  34. ^ "Mathieu Flamini: the footballer tackling climate change". 2 December 2016.
  35. ^ "Italy's Caserta-based biochemical company to buy world leader in levulinic acid derivatives".
  36. ^ "A Footballer Wants to Turn the World Green". 24 March 2017.
  37. ^ "MasterBiocirce".
  38. ^ "thebiojournal".
  39. ^ "Crystal Palace Footballer Mathieu Flamini Kicks off First Eco-sustainability Portal".
  40. ^ "Paris 2024 unveils Environmental Excellence Committee". Inside The 15 June 2016.
  41. ^ "Mathieu Flamini – NME People Of The Year 2015". 18 December 2015.
  42. ^ "M. Flamini". Soccerway. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
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  44. ^ a b c d "M. Flamini". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
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  48. ^ McNulty, Phil (30 May 2015). "Arsenal 4–0 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  49. ^ Sanghera, Mandeep (10 August 2014). "Arsenal 3–0 Manchester City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  50. ^ "Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal". BBC Sport. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
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External links[edit]