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Eric Bailly joined Manchester United from Villarreal in the summer of 2016 and quickly made a name for himself at Old Trafford.

Bailly's quality as an aspiring footballer was spotted by Spanish outfit Espanyol during a youth tournament held in Burkina Faso. He was signed by the Catalan club in December 2011 and joined their youth system at 17, but it was 10 months before he received a work permit enabling him to play. Once his papers arrived, he became a regular in the Espanyol B team, playing under the name of Eric Bertrand, until deciding to use his mother’s surname, Bailly, instead. He went on to become a regular in Espanyol’s first team before his powerful displays in the heart of defence earned him a move to Villarreal in January 2015. The 6ft 1in defender’s first big move came during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, in which he netted his spot-kick in the final penalty shoot-out as Ivory Coast beat Ghana to claim their second title. After a slow start at Villarreal, he made himself a mainstay in the club’s defence the following season. His tough tackling and no-nonsense approach helped the Yellow Submarine finish fourth in La Liga and reach the Europa League semi-finals. Bailly secured a move to Old Trafford ahead of the 2016/17 campaign and his versatility proved crucial, as he made 38 appearances across all competitions and featured at both centre-back and right-back. Although he missed the Europa League final through suspension, he did play the full 90 minutes at Wembley as United overcame Southampton to win the League Cup. Bailly’s trademark tough tackling has made him a fan favourite in Manchester, but his impressive ball-playing ability and anticipation skills have taken his game to the next level. Injury meant the defender had a very stop-start campaign in 2017/18, but when available Bailly was as dependable as ever and even managed to notch his first United goal in a 4-0 win at Swansea. Although he continued to impress when on the pitch, a combination of injuries, a suspension following his red card against Bournemouth in December, and the form of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof restricted Bailly to 18 appearances in all competitions in 2018/19. Unfortunately, a knee injury sustained against Chelsea at the end of April brought a premature end to his campaign and also ruled him out of the Africa Cup of Nations with his country. After returning to action in pre-season, Eric suffered a further blow when he injured his knee again during the International Champions Cup win over Tottenham in July 2019. He underwent an operation and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed he would be out for four to five months.

Read Less About Eric Bailly
  • Position


  • Country

    Ivory Coast

  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    v Leicester City (N)

To play football at the highest level is all I have ever wanted to do.


Exclusive injury update on six defenders Article

Read the latest news from Solskjaer about Bailly, Dalot, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Shaw and Tuanzebe.

Grant, Bailly and Romero with pupils of MEA Central.

Reds become Spanish teachers for the day Article

Sergio Romero, Lee Grant and Eric Bailly attended the MEA Central school for a Foundation project.

Ole gives a thumbs-up.

Team news for FA Cup replay Article

Ole provides the latest on his squad plans for the midweek tie against Wolves at Old Trafford.

Eric Bailly.

Senior pair make comeback in U23s Article

Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah made their reappearance from knee injuries on Friday night.

Eric Bailly.

Bailly's overhead kick video

Watch Eric Bailly go close with a spectacular attempt...

Eric Bailly in training.

First-team pair to feature for Under-23s Article

Two senior Reds will play for Neil Wood's side against Newcastle, live on MUTV, on Friday evening.

Eric Bailly.

Squad boosted as Bailly returns to training Article

The Ivorian has been pictured with his United team-mates at the Aon Training Complex, where four other Reds were absent.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks at United's pre-match press conference for the home game against AZ Alkmaar

Solskjaer's team news for Alkmaar clash Article

The boss has been speaking to MUTV about his squad for Thursday's final Europa League Group L game.

Marcos Rojo after the 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

Rojo added to United's injury list Article

The defender faces a short spell on the sidelines and will miss this weekend's match against Sheffield United.

Victor Lindelof

United team news for Partizan clash Article

The manager has provided an update on Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Paul Pogba.

Eric Bailly on the ball during the tour game against Leeds United.

Bailly sidelined with knee injury Article

Eric Bailly is likely to be out until around Christmas after undergoing an operation on Tuesday.

Eric Bailly lying down injured.

Ole provides update on Bailly Article

The boss gives us his early assessment of Eric's injury, after the defender was stretchered off against Tottenham.

A message from Bailly after beating Inter video

Eric Bailly is buzzing with the crowd's support in Singapore! Here's a message from the big man...

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ole's team news for Huddersfield clash Article

The boss describes how his squad is shaping up for Sunday's trip to the John Smith's Stadium.

Eric Bailly in action against Chelsea.

Bailly vows to come back stronger Article

Eric has expressed his determination to remain positive despite his latest injury setback.

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