Roberto Di Matteo

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Roberto Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo S04 2015.jpg
Di Matteo managing Schalke in 2015
Personal information
Date of birth (1970-05-29) 29 May 1970 (age 46)
Place of birth Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1991 Schaffhausen 50 (2)
1991–1992 Zürich 34 (6)
1992–1993 Aarau 33 (1)
1993–1996 Lazio 87 (7)
1996–2002 Chelsea 119 (26)
Total 323 (42)
National team
1994–1998 Italy 34 (2)
Teams managed
2008–2009 Milton Keynes Dons
2009–2011 West Bromwich Albion
2012 Chelsea
2014–2015 Schalke 04
2016 Aston Villa

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.


Roberto Di Matteo (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto di matˈtɛːo]; born 29 May 1970) is an Italian former professional footballer and manager.

During his playing career as a midfielder, he played for Swiss clubs Schaffhausen, Zürich and Aarau before joining Lazio of Italy and Chelsea of England. Born in Switzerland to Italian parents, he was capped 34 times for Italy, scoring two goals, and played in UEFA Euro 1996 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. He retired as a player in February 2002 at the age of 31 following injury problems.[2]

Di Matteo began his managerial career with Milton Keynes Dons and West Bromwich Albion. As caretaker manager of Chelsea, he steered the club to double title success, winning both the FA Cup and the club's first UEFA Champions League title in 2012,[3] but was dismissed later that year. He then went on to coach Schalke 04 until May 2015 when he departed after seven months in charge, and had four months as manager of Aston Villa in 2016.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Schaffhausen to Italian parents from Paglieta, Chieti, Abruzzo, Di Matteo began his career with Swiss club Schaffhausen, before joining Aarau in 1991.[4] He won the Swiss Nationalliga A with Aarau in 1993.[5]

Lazio[edit]

He signed for Lazio in the summer of 1993 on a free transfer.[6] Di Matteo became a regular starting-11 member of the Lazio side in midfield under managers Dino Zoff and later Zdeněk Zeman, and he made his debut for the Italian national team during his three seasons with the Rome club.[7] Under Zeman, he was frequently deployed in the central midfield role, in which he was required to aid the team defensively, thanks to his formation as a sweeper during his youth.[7] He was also important in helping his team offensively and creatively, functioning as a deep-lying playmaker for Lazio under Zeman, and helping to set the tempo of his team's play through his passing range, technique, control, and vision.[citation needed] During his time at the club, he developed into one of the top two-way central midfielders in Italy.[8]

However, a falling out with coach Zdeněk Zeman over a defensive error which resulted in a loss to Internazionale, ended his career with Lazio.[citation needed] As a result, he was signed by Ruud Gullit for English side Chelsea for a then club record fee of £4.9 million. He experienced a "goldfish bowl existence" during his time in Rome, and had his taxi pelted with stones as he left the club.[9]

Chelsea[edit]

Di Matteo scored the winner against Middlesbrough on his home debut for Chelsea.[10] His passing ability and accurate long-distance shooting saw him become one of the driving forces of Chelsea's resurgence in the late 1990s.[citation needed] He contributed nine goals in his first season, including long-range efforts against both Tottenham Hotspur and Wimbledon.[citation needed] He helped the club finish sixth place in the league, their highest placing since 1989–90, and reach the 1997 FA Cup Final at Wembley.[citation needed] Within 42 seconds of the kick-off of the final against Middlesbrough, Di Matteo scored the opening goal from 30 yards and Chelsea won 2–0.[11] Di Matteo's goal was the fastest in a Wembley FA Cup final until the record was broken by Louis Saha for Everton in 2009.[citation needed]

The following season Di Matteo again proved his worth to the team, contributing ten goals and numerous assists, as Chelsea went on to claim the Football League Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup, their first European honour since 1971.[citation needed] In the League Cup final, again against Middlesbrough, Di Matteo scored the second goal in a 2–0 win.[citation needed] Di Matteo played in midfield next to Gustavo Poyet, Dennis Wise and Dan Petrescu in the 1998–99 season as Chelsea finished third.[citation needed] During the 1999–2000 season Di Matteo was sidelined by injury but returned late in the season to score a handful of crucial goals, including his third Cup-winning goal at Wembley, once again in the FA Cup.[citation needed] In a dour match, Di Matteo capitalised on an error by Aston Villa goalkeeper David James to score the winner in the 72nd minute, handing Chelsea their fourth major trophy in three years.[12][13] This led Di Matteo to comment on the old Wembley Stadium saying "It's a shame they're tearing the old place down it has been a very lucky ground for me".[14]

Early into the 2000–01 season, Di Matteo sustained a triple leg fracture in a UEFA Cup tie against Swiss side St. Gallen and did not play for the next eighteen months.[15][16] He gave up on hopes of returning from this injury in February 2002 and retired at the age of 31.[15][16] In "gratitude for the midfielder's contribution to the transformation of the club", manager Claudio Ranieri handed Di Matteo the honour of leading the Chelsea team out in the 2002 FA Cup Final, which Chelsea went on to lose 2–0 to London rivals Arsenal.[17] In his six years at Chelsea, Di Matteo made 175 appearances and scored 26 goals.[18] Whilst playing at Chelsea, he never lost with the team at Old Trafford.[19]

International career[edit]

Di Matteo made his Italy debut under Arrigo Sacchi on 16 November 1994 in the Stadio La Favorita in Palermo. He came on as a 55th-minute substitute for Demetrio Albertini as Italy lost 2–1 to Croatia in qualification for UEFA Euro 1996. He made his first start in his second cap, a friendly 3–1 victory over Turkey on 21 December 1994 in the Stadio Adriatico in Pescara. Di Matteo played two of Italy's group matches in UEFA Euro 1996, against Russia and Germany. His first goal was scored on his 23rd cap, in qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, on 30 April 1997 in a 3–0 win against Poland in Naples. Di Matteo only scored one more goal for Italy, in a friendly win over Slovakia on 28 January 1998. He was a member of Italy's FIFA World Cup team in 1998 and played two of their group games, against Chile and Cameroon. The match against Cameroon in Montpellier was his last game for Italy; in total he made 34 caps for Italy between 1994 and 1998, scoring 2 goals.[20][21]

Managerial career[edit]

Milton Keynes Dons[edit]

On 2 July 2008, Di Matteo succeeded former England midfielder Paul Ince as manager of Milton Keynes Dons on a one-year contract, after Ince took the manager's job at Premier League club Blackburn Rovers.[22] A club statement by the Dons said that both Di Matteo and the club were "young, ambitious and hungry to succeed".[23] On 26 November that year, Di Matteo took former Chelsea team-mate and Norwegian international striker Tore André Flo out of retirement by signing him on a contract until the end of the season.[24] In his only season at stadium mk, Di Matteo led his team to third place in League One behind Leicester City and Peterborough United.[18][25] They then lost a play-off semi-final on penalties to Scunthorpe United, with Flo missing the decisive penalty in sudden death.[26]

West Bromwich Albion[edit]

Di Matteo was appointed manager of West Bromwich Albion on 30 June 2009, shortly after their relegation from the Premier League and the exit of former manager Tony Mowbray to Celtic. His selection was unanimous among the club's board.[27] In his first season, the team finished second in the Championship, behind Newcastle United, and won automatic promotion to the Premier League on 10 April with three games remaining after defeating Doncaster Rovers 3–2.[28]

On the opening day of the 2010–11 Premier League season on 14 August 2010, Di Matteo paid a return visit to Stamford Bridge as head coach of West Bromwich Albion. He was well received by the home fans, but saw his side lose 6–0 to Chelsea.[29] Better results in following matches led to the best start in a Premier League season by the club, and Di Matteo was also named Premier League Manager of the Month for September 2010.[30] During December 2010 and January 2011, the club had a period of poor form, winning only two of ten matches.[31] One day after a 0–3 defeat to Manchester City on 5 February 2011, he was relieved of his duties with immediate effect,[32] and first-team coach Michael Appleton was appointed caretaker manager.[33] West Bromwich Albion finished the season in eleventh position.

Chelsea[edit]

2011–12[edit]

Di Matteo was appointed assistant to André Villas-Boas, the new manager of Chelsea, on 29 June 2011.[15][34] On 4 March 2012, following the dismissal of Villas-Boas, Di Matteo became caretaker manager of Chelsea until the end of the season.[35] Shortly after his appointment, Di Matteo brought in former Chelsea teammate Eddie Newton to work as his assistant.[36] Di Matteo started his stewardship of Chelsea in winning form, with victories over Birmingham City, in a fifth round FA Cup match; Stoke City in a Premier League fixture; and Napoli in the last 16 second leg match in the UEFA Champions League, winning 4–1 to overturn the deficit in the first leg which Villas-Boas' Chelsea had lost 3–1.[37]

Di Matteo continued his form with Chelsea, by beating Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final 5–1 at Wembley and Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals.[38] On 24 April 2012, Di Matteo led Chelsea to a 3–2 aggregate win over holders Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League semi-final, winning 1–0 in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, and following this with a 2–2 draw in the second leg at the Camp Nou despite having captain John Terry sent off in the first half.[39] On 5 May, Chelsea won 2–1 against Liverpool in the 2012 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, to win their first trophy in the 2011–12 season.[40]

On 19 May 2012, Di Matteo guided Chelsea to victory in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, defeating Bayern Munich at their own Allianz Arena. The match had ended 1–1 after extra time with Chelsea coming out victorious in the penalty shootout.[41] This was Chelsea's first Champions League title, and qualified them for the 2012–13 Champions League, in place of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.[42] With this win Chelsea also became the first London club to win the Champions League.[43]

2012–13[edit]

Di Matteo as a coach of Chelsea in 2012

On 13 June 2012, Chelsea announced that Di Matteo had been appointed manager and first-team coach on a permanent basis signing a two-year contract with the club.[44] Chief executive Ron Gourlay said: 'Although he (Di Matteo) has set the bar very high in the short time he has been in charge, we know that Roberto is the right man to lead Chelsea onto further success.' Gourlay added: 'We are already looking forward to the 2012–13 season which kicks off when Roberto, his staff and players return for pre-season.'[45] Chelsea lost in the 2012 FA Community Shield to Manchester City 2–3.[46] His team started the 2012–13 Premier League well, with victories against Wigan Athletic,[47] Reading,[48] and Newcastle United.[49] They lost the 2012 UEFA Super Cup 4–1 to Atletico Madrid in Monaco on 1 September.[50] The good early season form continued with four successive Premier League wins against Stoke City, Arsenal, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur.

In the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League, Chelsea drew 2–2 with Juventus and beat Danish club Nordsjælland 4–0 away.[51] Their form declined after this, however, losing to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League and to Manchester United at home in the Premier League.[52] Chelsea's chances of advancing through their Champions League group were raised with a 3–2 home victory against leaders Shakhtar,[53] but on 21 November 2012, Di Matteo was sacked following their 3–0 away loss to Juventus in the Champions League, which all but eliminated them from the competition.[54] Di Matteo had lasted just eight months as manager of Chelsea despite winning two major trophies, causing the decision to be controversial with many pundits and club fans.[54][55][56][57][58][59] Later that day, Rafael Benítez was brought in as Chelsea's interim manager until the end of the season.[60]

In November 2013, it was reported that Di Matteo was still being paid £130,000-a-week by Chelsea because the two parties had never agreed on a pay-off settlement and that he would continue to be paid in full until June 2014 unless he took another job before then.[61]

FC Schalke 04[edit]

On 7 October 2014, Di Matteo was hired as the successor to Jens Keller at Schalke 04.[62] At that point, Schalke sat 11th in the Bundesliga and had already been eliminated from the DFB-Pokal.[63] Di Matteo is the third Italian head coach, after Giovanni Trapattoni and Nevio Scala, in Bundesliga history.[64]

He won his first match 2–0 against Hertha Berlin on 18 October, with goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Julian Draxler.[65] Schalke advanced from their Champions League group, with Max Meyer scoring the only goal in their final group match away to NK Maribor on 10 December.[66] On 10 March 2015, Schalke defeated Real Madrid 4–3 in Madrid.[67][68] However, Schalke lost 2–0 in the first leg[67] on 18 February and 5–4 on aggregate.[68] He resigned on 26 May 2015 after the team qualified for the UEFA Europa League by finishing sixth, following a run of two wins in ten matches which cost them a place in the Champions League.[69]

Aston Villa[edit]

On 2 June 2016, Di Matteo was appointed the manager of newly relegated Championship club Aston Villa, working under the new chairman Tony Xia. Di Matteo's former Chelsea teammate Steve Clarke was appointed as his assistant on the same day.[70] On 3 October 2016, Di Matteo was sacked as manager[71] after a string of poor results culminating in a 2-0 defeat away at Preston North End.

Personal life[edit]

Di Matteo has a sister, Concetta, who is blind. She attended the 1997 FA Cup Final, before which he said that she was his inspiration.[9]

As of 2010, Di Matteo is living in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with his wife Zoe and their three children.[72]

Career statistics[edit]

International[edit]

[73]

Italy national team
Year Apps Goals
1994 2 0
1995 8 0
1996 8 0
1997 11 1
1998 5 1
Total 34 2

International goals[edit]

[73]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 30 April 1997 Stadio San Paolo, Naples  Poland
1–0
3–0
1998 FIFA World Cup qualifier
2. 28 January 1998 Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania  Slovakia
3–0
3–0
Friendly

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 1 October 2016
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
P W D L Win %
Milton Keynes Dons 2 July 2008 30 June 2009 52 27 11 14 51.9 [22][74]
West Bromwich Albion 30 June 2009 6 February 2011 83 40 19 24 48.2 [74]
Chelsea 4 March 2012 21 November 2012 42 24 9 9 57.1 [74]
Schalke 04 7 October 2014 26 May 2015 33 14 7 12 42.4 [69][75]
Aston Villa 2 June 2016 3 October 2016 12 1 7 4 08.3 [71][74]
Total 222 106 53 63 47.7

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

Aarau[76]
Chelsea[76]

Manager[edit]

West Bromwich Albion[33]
Chelsea[77]

Individual[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ De Bartolo, Augusto (18 May 2012). "Di Matteo alle origini: da Paglieta alla finale di Champions". Sky Italia (in Italian). Sky. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Schifferle, Michael (14 May 2012). "Di Matteo's journey shaped by Swiss roots". UEFA.com. Union of European Football Associations. Retrieved 30 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Hancock, Lewis (26 August 2016). "Preview: Aston Villa home". bcfc.co.uk. Bristol City F.C. Retrieved 31 October 2016. 
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  71. ^ a b "Club statement: Roberto Di Matteo". avfc.co.uk. Aston Villa F.C. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
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External links[edit]