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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

    Defender

  • 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.

Latest

UTD Unscripted: My road to recovery Article

Set aside some time as Eric Bailly talks about his long path back to first-team football following a bad injury.

Eric Bailly.

Bailly exclusive: I'm making up for lost time Article

Eric's season only began in late February and, now, his sights are set on a strong finish to the campaign.

Eric Bailly with the Europa League trophy

Bailly yearns for more Europa League success Article

In Thursday's match programme, Eric recalls the camaraderie that propelled the Reds to glory in Stockholm in 2017.

Eric Bailly makes a challenge at Stamford Bridge.

Opinion: Put some respect on Bailly's name Article

Eric had not played a competitive match in 295 days, yet managed to shine in Monday's big win over Chelsea.

Eric's amazing stepover in his return match video

Bailly clearly enjoyed himself at Stamford Bridge in his first match for almost 10 months...

You have to see this Bailly stepover video

As you can see here, Bailly was clearly enjoying himself at Stamford Bridge...

Bailly is back with a bang! video

Eric marked his first appearance of the season with this awesome sliding tackle...

Quinton Fortune

United's African players Article

Odion Ighalo is the seventh Red from Africa. Can you remember the previous six?

Eric Bailly in training this week.

Bailly thankful for Reds' show of faith Article

Eric says he is determined to repay the club's decision to extend his contract now he is regaining full fitness.

Bailly discusses his return to fitness video

"I've worked really hard to get back to where I am," says Eric Bailly, on his return to fitness from injury...

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...

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