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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 that would enable 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 African 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 to life at Villarreal, he made himself a mainstay in the club’s centre of defence in the following season, as his tough tackling and no-nonsense approach helped the Yellow Submarine to finish fourth in La Liga and reach the semi-finals of the Europa League. 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 earlier in the season. Bailly’s trademark tough tackling has made him a fan favourite in Manchester, but it is his impressive ball-playing ability and anticipation skills that have taken his game to the next level. Injury meant that the defender had a very stop-start campaign in 2017/18, but when available Bailly was a dependable as ever and even managed to notch his first goal for the club in a 4-0 win against Swansea.

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.


Eric Bailly - l'Elephant d'Afrique

How red earth shaped Bailly's career Article

In a superb new MUTV documentary, Eric Bailly speaks openly and honestly about his early career in war-torn Ivory Coast.

United players in training.

Heard the good news about Bailly? Article

Congratulations to Eric, who has been named in Africa's Best XI of 2018 at the CAF awards.

Paul Pogba warms up.

Eight changes for the Reds Article

Due to a busy December schedule, Jose Mourinho has rotated his team for the game against Valencia.

Jose Mourinho with Eric Bailly.
Valencia boss Marcelino says

"I'm so sorry for Eric's injuries because I know his performances are conditioned by this. I know he's having a hard time and suffering when trying to have a stable rhythm in the team."

Eric Bailly.
Valencia boss Marcelino says

"I was so lucky to have Eric [Bailly] as a footballer [at Villarreal]. He's an extraordinary player and person. I wish nothing but the best for him and I feel his youth will help him through these hard times. He'll be very important for United."

Valencia's Mestalla Stadium in Spain at night.

Your essential guide to Valencia v United Article

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash at the Mestalla Stadium.

Manchester United players warm up before a Premier League game at Old Trafford

Your essential guide to the Arsenal game Article

Here's all the info you need on our huge Premier League clash against the Gunners.

Victor Lindelof.

Centre-backs give Jose a selection dilemma Article

Lindelof, Smalling, Bailly, Jones and Rojo are all ready to play in a busy period for United.

Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Eric Bailly and Diogo Dalot celebrate a goal against Derby County in the Carabao Cup

'We call Juan the Wizard' Article

Our team-mates talk with Eric Bailly concludes with his views on United's forwards.

Eric Bailly and Marouane Fellaini during a Manchester United training session.

'Marouane is a crazy boy!' Article

It's time to hear what Eric Bailly thinks of the men in United's midfield.

Ashley Young and Eric Bailly

'Ashley is top, top, top, top' Article

Eric Bailly talks us through his United team-mates, starting with the goalkeepers and his fellow defenders.

Eric Bailly.
What I'm... reading
Eric Bailly says

"To be honest, I’m not really a big reader. But, being a Christian, I often read passages from the Bible, and that does it for me."

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