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Nemanja Matic is perhaps the definition of an unsung hero in modern football - the sort of player who makes a team tick, with minimum fuss but maximum efficiency.

The Serbia international may share four syllables of his name with a fellow countryman who made a hugely endearing impact at Old Trafford, Nemanja Vidic, but he is a very different type of footballer. Tough, yes, but rather than being an out-and-out warrior like the former centre-back, he's a world-class holding midfielder who screens the defence and allows other attacking players to flourish. After starting his senior career with FK Kolubara, a Serbian side based in Lazarevac, Matic really made his mark in Slovakia with Kosice. Chelsea snapped him up in 2009 and he was loaned out to Vitesse Arnhem a year later. Benfica signed Matic on a permanent deal when negotiating the sale of Brazil international David Luiz to Stamford Bridge in January 2011 and, on the advice of manager Jorge Jesus, Nemanja became a successful no.6 following his previous years as a no.10. That educational spell in Portugal convinced Chelsea to resign their former player in January 2014 and it proved to be a shrewd move, after Matic instantly helped Jose Mourinho’s Blues to win the Premier League title that season. “He is a giant of a player,” the manager told reporters that May. Mourinho left Chelsea midway through the difficult 2014/15 campaign, but Matic remained and later claimed his second championship crown under Antonio Conte in 2016/17. Although he made 44 appearances that campaign, scoring two goals, including a wonder strike in the FA Cup semi-final, United made a shock move for the Serbian and he was reunited with Mourinho at Old Trafford in July 2017. The Serbian was thrown straight into the United side for the UEFA Super Cup tie against Real Madrid and made his Premier League debut for the club on the opening day of the season against West Ham. Matic was a mainstay of United’s Champions League campaign. He appeared in every Champions League group stage game apart the Red’s final match against CSKA Moscow, when qualification for the last 16 was all but secured. The Serbian featured in both knockout legs against Sevilla. Matic endeared himself to the United faithful with a stunning stoppage time strike against Crystal Palace to seal a 3-2 comeback for the Reds. The Serbian's effort won the 2017/18 Goal of the Season at the United Player of the Year awards in what was an impressive debut season.

Read Less About Nemanja Matic
  • Position

    Midfielder

  • Country

    Serbia

  • Date of birth

  • Joined

  • United debut

    Real Madrid (N)

To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

Latest

'We know how to approach the derby' Article

Nemanja Matic is revved up about Sunday's trip to the Etihad Stadium and all that it entails.

Nemanja Matic in action for United against City.
Nemanja Matic says

"I think derbies are really special because it’s two local teams playing. The Manchester derby, for our supporters, is the most important game of the season."

Nemanja Matic.
Nemanja Matic says

"I expect a very difficult game. They are a very good side, play good football and score a lot of goals in every game, but we also have our qualities which we have to use."

Nemanja Matic takes on Raheem Sterling.
Nemanja Matic says

"It was a great comeback. I think that, in that moment, our supporters felt very proud and I was also very happy to make them happy to not allow Man City to celebrate [winning the Premier League title] in front of us.”

Nemanja Matic on Anthony Martial says

“Anthony is a great player and he needs to understand that. He needs more confidence. He is still young and if he continues to score he will get that. If he reaches his top level he can be one of the best players in the league."

Nemanja Matic on Anthony Martial says

"Sometimes I don't think he understands how good he is. He is quick, he is good with the ball, he can run. He has everything that a Manchester United football player needs."

Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic share a joke during a training session

Matic: Martial can be one of the best Article

Nemanja believes his in-form team-mate Anthony can become a Premier League great.

Anthony Martial.
Nemanja Matic says

"Anthony needs to understand that he has a lot of quality in his legs to play good football. He's still young and can still improve but he needs confidence."

Jose Mourinho arrives at Stamford Bridge

Mourinho makes two changes Article

See the side Jose has selected to face Chelsea and read his pre-match interview from Stamford Bridge.

Luke Shaw in action for United.
What's the team news?
says

Diogo Dalot, Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw all picked up injuries during the international break. Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Marcos Rojo have also missed recent matches.

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