Matić Nemanja

Nemanja Matić is a Serbian professional footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Ligue 1 club Lyon. Starting his career as an attacking midfielder, Matić shifted to a defensive midfielder during his spell at Benfica. He is known for his consistent performances on the pitch and his combative style of play. Matić began his senior career at Kolubara, before joining Slovak side Košice in 2007. He moved to English club Chelsea for £1.5 million in 2009. Used sparingly during his first spell at the club, he spent the 2010–11 season on loan at Dutch club Vitesse, and in the summer of 2011, he moved to Benfica as part of a swap deal involving David Luiz. He won the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award for his performances in the 2012–13 season. Matić returned to Chelsea in January 2014, for £21 million. He was an integral part of a Chelsea team that won two Premier League titles. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2014–15 season. In July 2017, he was reunited with former Chelsea manager José Mourinho after signing for Manchester United. He played with Manchester United until 2022 when he again was reunited with Mourinho at Roma. After one season with Roma, he joined Rennes in 2023. Matić represented Serbia at under-21 level. He made his senior international debut in 2008 and scored twice in 48 appearances. He was part of Serbia’s squad at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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A left-footed defensive midfielder, Matić’s poise and power, in addition to his in-game intelligence and tactical awareness, have enabled his attacking teammates to flourish. He is often used at a holding position and screens the defence while providing cover for attacking movements. Just before he joined Manchester United, he had a tackle success rate of 75% in 123 Premier League appearances, a higher rate than N’Golo Kante, Ander Herrera, Fernandinho and Jordan Henderson. José Mourinho commented on Matić, “At this moment, he is a giant, not for his size but for the way he plays.” Matić’s qualities have led to comparison to his ex-teammate at Manchester United, Michael Carrick. Prior to joining Benfica, he played as an attacking midfielder, before being shifted to a holding midfield role. On 14 June 2022, it was announced that Matić had agreed to join Roma on a one-year contract, following the expiry of his Manchester United contract. He joined on a free transfer. This was his third reunion with manager José Mourinho, having also played under him for Chelsea and Manchester United. “I already worked with him, we have a good connection and he is one of the reasons why I came here,” Matic commented on Mourinho. On 14 August, he made his debut for the club, as a substitute, in a 1–0 away win against Salernitana in the Serie A. With Roma he reached the Europa League final, but the team lost.