Matteo Darmian (Italian pronunciation: [matˈtɛo darˈmjan]; born 2 December 1989) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a full-back for Premier League club Manchester United and the Italy national team.
He began his career at Milan, making his Serie A debut at age 17. In 2009, he joined Padova, whom he helped avoid relegation from Serie B in his only season there. He then returned to Serie A with Palermo, and one year later, Torino, where he played for four seasons. He moved to Manchester United in July 2015, winning the FA Cup in his first season with the club.
Darmian grew up playing football in the main square in Rescaldina and was trained by his father, Giovanni, who was one of the coaches of Oratorio team, U.S. CARCOR, where players such as Marco Simone and Luigi Pogliana also played. His first real break came when he was spotted by Beniamino Abate, a former goalkeeper tasked with scouting Lombardy for young talent by Milan.
He made his debut in Serie A at the age of 17, in Milan – Udinese (2–3) of 19 May 2007 when he entered in the 67th minute to replace Giuseppe Favalli. During the 2007–08 season he became the leader and captain of the A.C. Milan Primavera, collecting another appearance for the first-team in the Coppa Italia. The following season, the 19-year-old defender collected an additional three league appearances. He ended his experience at Milan with four appearances in the top flight.
On 17 July 2009, Darmian moved to Serie B club Padova until the end of the 2009–10 season. He made his official debut for the club on 28 November, in a home loss against Vicenza. He went on making 20 appearances and scoring one goal, as Padova finished the season in 19th place and subsequently won the relegation play–off against Triestina.
On 11 July 2010, it was announced that Matteo Darmian would join Palermo's pre-season training camp in Austria, after Milan and the Sicilian Serie A club agreed in principle about a transfer move involving him. The move, unveiled as a co-ownership bid, was officially announced by Palermo the next day. The fee was €800,000. Darmian made his debut for the rosanero on 16 September 2010 in a Europa League game against Sparta Prague (2–3), which also earned him his debut in European competition. His Palermo league debut was during the fourth game of the season, coming on for Javier Pastore in a 3–1 win against Juventus. On 6 February 2011 he played his first game as a starter in the league away at Lecce (4–2), but was substituted in the 33rd minute due to injury. He finished the season with 16 appearances among Serie A, Europa League and Coppa Italia.
After Milan and Palermo renewed the co-ownership on 23 June 2011, on 12 July he was officially loaned to Torino in Serie B. He made his debut for the Granata on 13 August 2011 in the second round of Coppa Italia against Lumezzane; and scored his first goal on 30 October against Empoli, allowing his team to win 2–1. On 13 November he was injured against Bari (1–1) and sidelined for five games. At the end of the season he was promoted to Serie A, having played 33 games in the league and one in Coppa Italia.
On 20 June 2012 Palermo redeemed his 50% share from Milan for €500,000 and on 5 July, his return to Torino was formulised under a co-ownership agreement for €825,000. With Torino he played 30 games in Serie A and two in Coppa Italia. On 20 June 2013 Torino redeemed the remainder of his contract from Palermo for €1.5 million.
In the 2013–14 season he played 37 games in Serie A for Torino, who finished 7th and qualified for the Europa League after Parma failed to obtain a UEFA license. He featured in the Serie A Team of the Year, along with teammate, Ciro Immobile. On 18 May 2014 he made his 100th appearance for Torino during the 2–2 draw away to Fiorentina.
In his first appearance of the 2014–15 season, on 7 August 2014, he scored his first goal in European competition against Sweden's IF Brommapojkarna, valid for the second leg of the 2014–15 Europa League third qualifying round, won 4–0 in Turin (7–0 on aggregate). On 29 October he scored his first goal in Serie A to secure a 1–0 win over Parma, before returning to the score-sheet on 11 December in the Europa League group stage, won 5–1 away at Copenhagen. On 26 February 2015 he scored the match-winner against Athletic Bilbao, qualifying Torino for the round of 16 after a historic victory 3–2 in Spain. He concluded the season with 47 appearances and five goals between Serie A, Europe and the Coppa Italia.
In total, he played 151 matches and scored six goals for Torino.
On 11 July 2015, Darmian signed for English club Manchester United for an undisclosed fee, believed to be £12.7 million. He signed a four-year contract with an option to extend it for a further year. He made his debut for the club against Club América during preseason on 17 July 2015, playing the first 45 minutes, with United winning 1–0. He made his Premier League debut on 8 August as the season opened with a 1–0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, with manager Louis van Gaal selecting his performance as the best of the match.
On 10 September 2015, Darmian earned his first official accolade at the club, after he was voted Manchester United's August 2015 player of the month. "It's important to know this is from the fans," Matteo told United's official website. "I want to thank them. I am happy. I also want to thank my team-mates and everyone at the club for making me feel welcome."
In his twenty-seventh appearance of the 2015–16 season on 20 April 2016, Matteo scored his first Manchester United and Premier League goal, a powerful volley from the edge of the Penalty area, in a 2–0 victory against Crystal Palace. He was presented with the club's Man of the Match award for his performance in this fixture and hailed his 55th-minute strike as the best goal of his career, thus far. His cross in the fourth minute of play had also previously forced an own goal from Damien Delaney.
After playing for Italy at under-17 and under-18, he was called up to the under-19 squad, led by Francesco Rocca in July 2008. At the UEFA European U-19 Championship he played in the starting lineup, always in the role of a right full-back. In 2009, he took part in the Mediterranean Games, playing seven games for the under-20 side. On 25 March 2009, he made his debut for the Italy U-21 side in a friendly match against Austria (2–2), played in Vienna. From 10 to 12 March 2014, he was called up to the senior national team by coach Cesare Prandelli as part of an internship to evaluate young players ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, confirmed on the next meeting between 14 and 15 April.
Given his excellent season with Torino, on 13 May 2014, he was included in the list of 30 provisional players for the 2014 World Cup. He made his debut for the Azzurri on 31 May 2014, at age 24, playing as a right-back in a friendly match with Ireland (0–0) held in London. The following day, he was included in the list of 23 players selected for the World Cup. On 14 June, he made his debut at the World Cup, playing as a starter in Italy's opening game against England, won 2–1. He also played the next two games against Costa Rica and Uruguay, both lost 1–0 with Italy failing to qualify for the next round.
In early 2015 he was awarded with the Pallone Azzurro as the best player of the national team for 2014. On 10 October of that year, he scored his first international goal, which was the final one of a 3–1 away win over Azerbaijan which sealed Italy's qualification to UEFA Euro 2016. On 31 May 2016, he was named to Conte's 23-man Italy squad for Euro 2016. In the round of 16 of the tournament, at Stade de France in Paris on 27 June, he came off the bench and set-up Graziano Pellè's 91st minute volley to give the Azzurri a 2–0 win over defending champions Spain. On 2 July, he missed Italy's final penalty in a 6–5 shoot-out defeat to reigning World Cup champions Germany in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Style of play
Although he started his career as a centre-back, in recent years Darmian has played as a dynamic full-back on either flank, due to his ability with both feet, although he prefers the right. A versatile player, he is known for his good quality of attacking and defensive play, his tactical awareness, pace, and stamina, attributes that have led him to be compared to legendary former Italian full-backs Antonio Cabrini and Paolo Maldini. In 2012–13, Darmian made the most tackles per game (5.3) across Europe's top five leagues.
- As of match played 21 May 2016.
- As of match played 2 July 2016
|Italy national team|
- As of match played 27 June 2016. Scores and results list Italy's goal tally first.
|1.||10 October 2015||Baku National Stadium, Baku, Azerbaijan||Azerbaijan||UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying|
- Manchester United