Thomas Meunier

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Thomas Meunier
Thomas Meunier 2018.jpg
Meunier playing for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup
Personal information
Full name Thomas Meunier[1]
Date of birth (1991-09-12) 12 September 1991 (age 26)[2]
Place of birth Sainte-Ode, Belgium
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[1]
Playing position Right back
Club information
Current team
Paris Saint-Germain
Number 12
Youth career
1996–2002 RUS Saint-Ode
2002–2004 RUS Givry
2004–2006 Standard Liège
2006–2009 Virton
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2011 Virton 49 (15)
2011–2016 Club Brugge 149 (14)
2016– Paris Saint-Germain 46 (5)
National team
2006 Belgium U15 1 (0)
2011–2012 Belgium U21 7 (1)
2013– Belgium 30 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 May 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15:53, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

Thomas Meunier (French pronunciation: ​[tɔ.mɑ mø.nje]; born 12 September 1991) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a right back for French Paris Saint-Germain as well as the Belgian national team.

Club career[edit]

Virton[edit]

Born in Sainte-Ode, Belgium, Meunier began playing for various youth teams, starting with RUS Saint-Ode, RUS Givry and Standard Liège, which he spent two seasons before being released over injuries.[3] Meunier left Standard Liège in 2006 to join Virton. Virton's first team was then playing in the Belgian Third Division. Meunier would later start his professional football career at Virton.[4]

Meunier started to play professionally for Virton's first team in the first half of 2009. He became a first team regular for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons. From 2009 to 2011, Meunier made a total of 52 appearances and scored 16 goals in all competitions for Virton's first team.

Club Brugge[edit]

Meunier in his early Club Brugge’s career in 2011

Meunier was signed by Club Brugge from Belgian Third Division team Virton in January 2011 for a transfer fee of 200,000 euros, with the actual transfer to be completed during the 2011 summer transfer window.[5] A few days earlier, Club Brugge had just missed out on the transfers of Dalibor Veselinović and Jelle Van Damme and therefore wanted to make sure Meunier would not become the third near miss. Club Brugge managed to complete the deal before any of the several other interested Belgian clubs (Anderlecht, Standard Liège, Sint-Truiden and Zulte Waregem) could.[6]

Ahead of the new season, Meunier was given a number 19 shirt.[7] On 31 July 2011, Club Brugge played its first match of the 2011–12 season against Westerlo in which Meunier was allowed to play the final 20 minutes. Meunier played a decent match, getting on the score sheet in the process.[8] It wasn’t until on 21 September 2011 when he scored again, in a 3–2 win over Dessel Sport.[9] He then scored three goals in five appearances in all competitions between 16 October 2011 and 3 November 2011 against Gent, Genk and Birmingham City.[10] Since making his debut for Club Brugge, Meunier established himself in the first team, playing in the midfield position.[11] As a result, he signed a contract extension, keeping him until 2016.[12] Despite being absent from the first team over injuries, Meunier finished his first season at Club Brugge, making 49 appearances and scoring 5 times in all competitions.[13] At the end of the 2011–12 season, Meunier’s goal against Genk earned him third place for Goal of the Season.[14]

Meunier in 2012

At the start of the 2012–13 season, Meunier started the season well when he scored in the first four league matches against Waasland-Beveren, Charleroi, KV Mechelen and Beerschot.[15] After the match, Meunier described about scoring goals regularly as "Better doing was my ambition. That is already very close."[16] He started out playing in the right–wing position at the start of the season.[17] However, Meunier suffered injuries on two occasions that kept him out until November.[18] It wasn’t until on 17 November 2012 when he returned from injury, coming on as a second–half substitute, in a 6–2 win over Waasland-Beveren.[19] After returning, Meunier began playing in the right–back position, which he have no problem.[20] Around late–January, he suffered an injury once again and was sidelined until March.[21] After returning to the first from injury, Meunier regained his first team place, where he played in the right–back position for the rest of the season.[22] At the end of the 2012–13 season, Meunier went on to make 28 appearances and scoring 4 times in all competitions.

However, at the start of the 2013–14 season, Meunier missed out, due to groin injury, which he had an operation and was sidelined until September.[23] Since returning from injury, Meunier quickly returned to the first team, regaining his right–back position and helped the side keep a clean sheet four times between 14 September 2013 and 5 October 2013.[24] His performance attracted attention from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg but stayed at the club throughout the January transfer window.[25] It wasn’t until on 18 February 2014 when he scored his first goal for the club, in a 5–2 win over OH Leuven.[26] He then scored twice on 16 March 2014, in a 2–0 win over Cercle Brugge.[27] In a 1–0 loss against Anderlecht on 4 May 2014, Meunier scored an own goal, which saw them lose and costing the club their title chances.[28] Despite being sidelined later in the 2013–14 season, Meunier made a total of 33 appearances and scoring three times in all competitions.[29] He also received a Blue Shoe two months later.[30]

In the 2014–15 season, Meunier started the season well when he set up one of the goals, in a 2–0 win over Waasland-Beveren.[31] Since the start of the season, Meunier appeared in every matches in the right–back position until he suffered an injury in early–December.[32] On 22 November 2014, Meunier scored his first goal of the season, in a 4–2 win over Waasland-Beveren.[33] After returning from injury, he scored again on 14 December 2014, in a 3–1 win over Standard Liège.[34] In January 2015, Meunier signed a new contract with the club, keeping him until 2019.[35] Shortly after, on 20 January 2015, he set up a hat–trick assist, in a 3–2 win over KV Mechelen to send them through to the semi final of Beker van België.[36] However, as he continued to regain his place in the right–back position, Meunier, however, suffered two injuries towards the end of the season.[37] Nevertheless, he played every minute of the 2015 Belgian Cup Final against rivals RSC Anderlecht, which ended in a 2–1 win for Club Brugge which enabled it to win its first Belgian Cup since 2007.[38] At the end of the 2014–15 season, Meunier went on to make a total of 46 appearances and scoring two times in all competitions. For his performance, Meunier was awarded Footballer of the Year.[39]

Ahead of the 2015–16 season, Meunier was linked with a move away from Club Brugge and was expected to leave the club in the summer.[40] However, he suffered a knee injury whilst on international duty and was out for two months.[41] It wasn’t until on 30 August 2015 when he returned to the first team from injury, coming on as a late substitute, in a 7–1 win over Standard Liège.[42] He then scored his first goal of the season on 23 September 2015, as well as, setting up a goal, in a 4–0 win over Patro Eisden.[43] A week later, on 1 October 2015, Meunier scored again in a UEFA Europa League match, in a 3–1 loss against Midtjylland.[44] Then, on 5 November 2015, he scored in the UEFA Europa League campaign once again, in a 1–0 win over Legia Warsaw.[45] He captained Club Brugge for the first time when he led a 4–1 win over KV Mechelen on 30 November 2015.[46] He then set up two goals in a 6–0 win over Westerlo, followed up by scoring again, in a 3–2 loss against Genk.[47] He also went on to score two more goals against Genk and Gent towards the end of the season and helped the club win the league.[48] Despite being sidelined on two occasions later in the 2015–16 season, Meunier went on to make a total of 42 appearances and scoring six times.[49]

Over the 2016 summer transfer window, Meunier was a transfer target for several clubs, with Paris Saint-Germain leading the chase to sign him.[50] But in early June, he made it clear that he was going to stay at the club.[51] Despite his claim that he intended to stay at Club Brugge, he continued to be a transfer target.[52]

When Meunier joined Club Brugge in 2011, he initially played as a striker or right winger before he was transformed into a right back by head coaches Juan Carlos Garrido, Georges Leekens and Michel Preud'homme due to the lack of players playing in that position because of injuries sustained by his teammates Davy De Fauw and Tom Høgli, and the departure of Carl Hoefkens.[20][53]

Paris Saint-Germain[edit]

On 3 July 2016, Paris Saint-Germain announced that Meunier had just joined PSG on a four-year deal that would tie him to the club until 30 June 2020.[54] The transfer fee was reported to be 7 million euros.[55] Prior to the move, Meunier admitted having doubts moving to Paris Saint-Germain, citing a possible lack of playing time there.[56]

In the 2016 International Champions Cup friendly match against Real Madrid in Ohio, Thomas Meunier scored twice to help PSG to a 3–1 win.[57]

2016–17 season[edit]

On 6 August 2016, Meunier made his first competitive appearance for PSG by coming on as a substitute for David Luiz in the 76th minute of the 2016 Trophée des Champions.[58] After being an unused substitute for PSG's first two league matches of the 2016–17 season, he made his league debut for the club and played 28 minutes in a 3–1 loss against AS Monaco on 28 August 2016.[59] Since making his PSG debut, Meunier found himself competing with Serge Aurier throughout the season and due to good performances by Aurier, he often appeared on the substitute bench.[60]

After suffering a knee injury in late September, Meunier returned to the first team, starting the whole game in the right back position and scoring a goal, in a 2–0 league home win over Bordeaux on 1 October 2016.[61] On 1 November 2016, Meunier assisted Blaise Matuidi's opening goal and scored the winning goal with a stunning 90th-minute side-footed curling volley in PSG's 2–1 away win over Basel in a 2016–17 UEFA Champions League Group A match; it was Meunier's first competitive goal for PSG.[62] As a result of his good performance, he was named a member of the UEFA Team of the Week.[63]

A month later, on 21 December 2016, Meunier scored his first league goal for the club, in a 5–0 win over Lorient.[64] However, the next two months saw him sidelined with injuries on two separate occasions.[65] Despite this, Meunier received more playing time throughout January 2017 as a right–back because Aurier had to play for his national team in the finals of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.[66] The following month, he played the whole 90 minutes and set up a goal for Edinson Cavani, in a 4–0 win over Barcelona in the last 16 first leg of the 2016–17 UEFA Champions League. "We played the perfect match. Everyone was really looking forward to it, I have not seen that this season," he said right after that match.[67] However, Meunier conceded a penalty and PSG lost 6–1 to Barcelona in the second leg; PSG were thus eliminated from the competition 6–5 on aggregate. "This is unacceptable. We had to start the race in a quieter way. That is what PSG lacks. Finding an explanation is difficult," Meunier said.[68]

Towards the end of the 2016–17 season, Meunier continued to compete for a first team place with Aurier.[69] He suffered injuries on two separate occasions for the second time this season.[70] Although he featured in both the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France campaigns, Meunier did not play in both of the finals; he was on the substitute bench for the former and missed the latter because of an injury sustained.[71] During the 2016–17 season, he made a total of 36 appearances and scored 2 times in all competitions.

2017–18 season[edit]

During the summer transfer window of 2017, Meunier was the subject of a transfer when Premier League side Chelsea tried to sign him on the transfer window deadline day but had their bid rejected by PSG.[72] At the start of the 2017–18 season, Meunier played his first competitive match of the season by starting as the right–back, in the 2–1 win over AS Monaco in the 2017 Trophée des Champions.[73] Even after Aurier’s departure to Tottenham Hostpur, he still competed for the right–back position with the just-recruited Dani Alves.[74]

Having been an unused substitute for PSG's previous two league matches (against Guingamp and Toulouse), Meunier finally made his first league appearance of the season, replacing Dani Alves and then setting up a goal for Edinson Cavani, in a 3–0 home win over Saint-Étienne on 25 August 2017.[75] It was not until 30 September 2017 when he scored his first goal of the season for the club, in a 6–2 league home win over Bordeaux.[76] On 14 October 2017, Meunier scored both of PSG's goals in another league match, in a 2–1 win at Dijon.[77]

On 8 May 2018, he came off the bench as PSG won 2–0 against Les Herbiers VF to clinch the 2017-18 Coupe de France.[78]

International career[edit]

Youth career[edit]

After appearing for the Belgium U15 team, Meunier was called up for the Belgium U21 team for the first time in February 2011, but did not play.[79]

Meunier was called up for the second time in August 2011[80] and finally making his Belgium U21 debut on 9 August 2011, in a 3–2 friendly loss against Turkey U21. On 6 September 2011, he then scored his first U21 goal, in the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification 4–1 home win over Azerbaijan U21.[81] He made a total of seven appearances (five of those were in 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification matches) and scored once for the Belgium U21 team.

Senior career[edit]

After being called up to the senior side for the first time, on 14 November 2013, Meunier made his debut for the Belgian national team in a home friendly match against Colombia, which was preparation for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.[82] He also appeared as a substitute two further friendlies, against Japan (2–3 loss) and Iceland (3–1 win), but was not included in coach Marc Wilmots' final 23-man squad for the tournament.[83]

After missing out in the World Cup, Meunier was called up in November 2014 and made his first appearance in almost a year, in a 3–1 win over Iceland on 12 November 2014.[84]

After being called to the squad for the Euro 2016, Meunier played the whole 90 minutes at right back in the UEFA Euro 2016 group stage and then set up a goal for Axel Witsel, in a 3–0 win over Republic of Ireland, keeping a clean sheet.[85] He also kept another clean sheet in 90 minutes at right back in another victory over Sweden four days later.[86] He also started in Belgium's 4–0 round of 16 win against Hungary.[87] Meunier finished the UEFA Euro 2016 campaign, making five appearances for the side.

On 13 November 2016, just five months after conclusion of UEFA Euro 2016, Meunier scored in the 8th minute in Belgium's 8–1 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification win over Estonia at the King Baudouin Stadium to register his first ever senior international goal.[88] On 31 August 2017, Meunier recorded his first career senior international hat-trick in Belgium's 9–0 defeat of Gibraltar, a match in which he also recorded four assists.[89] On 7 October 2017, he scored the opening goal of Belgium's 4–3 defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina to end the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with five goals and seven assists from eight matches.[90]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 4 May 2018
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
R.E. Virton 2008–09[91] Belgian Second Division 5 0 1 0 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 6 0
2009–10[91] Belgian Third Division 16 5 1 0 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 17 5
2010–11[91] Belgian Third Division 28 10 1 1 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 29 11
R.E. Virton total 49 15 3 1 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 52 16
Club Brugge 2011–12[92] Pro League 35 3 2 0 ~ ~ 12[a] 1 ~ ~ 49 4
2012–13[93] 21 4 1 0 ~ ~ 6[b] 0 ~ ~ 28 4
2013–14[94] 32 3 1 0 ~ ~ 0 0 ~ ~ 33 3
2014–15[95] 30 2 5 0 ~ ~ 1[a] 0 ~ ~ 36 2
2015–16[96] 31 2 5 1 ~ ~ 6[a] 2 ~ ~ 42 5
Club Brugge total 149 14 14 1 ~ ~ 25 3 ~ ~ 188 18
Paris Saint-Germain 2016–17[97] Ligue 1 22 1 4 0 3 0 6[c] 1 1[d] 0 36 2
2017–18[97] 22 4 4 0 3 1 1 0 1[d] 0 31 5
Paris Saint-Germain total 45 5 8 0 6 1 7 1 2 0 68 7
Career total 243 33 25 2 6 1 32 4 2 0 308 41
  1. ^ a b c Appearances in the Europa League
  2. ^ Four appearances in the Europa League and two in the Champions League
  3. ^ Appearances in the Champions League
  4. ^ a b Appearance in the Trophée des Champions

International[edit]

As of 14 July 2018[98]
Belgium
Year Apps Goals
2013 2 0
2014 1 0
2015 2 0
2016 10 1
2017 6 4
2018 9 1
Total 30 6

International goals[edit]

As of 14 July 2018[99]

Belgium score listed first, score column indicates score after each Meunier goal.

International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 14 November 2016 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium 15  Estonia 1–0 8–1 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
2 31 August 2017 Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liege, Belgium 16  Gibraltar 2–0 9–0
3 7–0
4 8–0
5 7 October 2017 Stadion Grbavica, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 18  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 4–3
6 14 July 2018 Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia 30  England 1–0 2–0 2018 FIFA World Cup

Personal life[edit]

In his early football career, Meunier worked at the factory for auto parts and received a diploma once he finished school. Outside of football, he’s also a fan of art.[100] Growing up, he supported Anderlecht.[101]

In addition to speaking French, Meunier speaks English and Dutch. In November 2012, Meunier was fined €120 and given a 13-day driving ban after being convicted of speeding.[102] After his conviction, Meunier began taking driving lessons again.[103] Outside of football, he opened a catering business in his hometown of Bastogne and has thought about becoming a baker once his football career is over.[104]

Meunier is in a relationship with Deborah Panzokou, having known each other since high school.[105] In May 2015, it was announced that the couple were expecting their first child. Deborah gave birth to a baby boy, Landrys, (born in December 2015).[106]

Honours[edit]

Club Brugge

Paris Saint Germain

Belgium

References[edit]

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External links[edit]