Nemanja Matic: Player Profile

Matic The Latest Piece In Mourinho's Jigsaw

Personal information
Full name: Nemanja Matic
Date of birth: 1 August 1988
Age: 25
Place of birth: UB, SFR Yugoslavia
Height: 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position: Midfielder

Club information 
Current club: Chelsea
Number: 21

Youth career
Red Star Belgrade

Senior career 
2005–2007 Jedinstvo Ub 16 Appearances, 0 goals
2007–2009 KoŇ°ice 70 Appearances, 4 goals
2009–2011 Chelsea 3 Appearances, 0 goals
2010–2011 → Vitesse (loan) 29 Appearances, 2 goals
2011–2014 Benfica 95 Appearances, 9 goals
2014– Chelsea 1 Appearances, 0 goals

National team
2008–2010 Serbia U21 11 Appearances, 2 goals
2008– Serbia 9 Appearances, 0 goals

Last week Chelsea Football Club completed the signing of Nemanja Matic from Benfica for an estimated 21 million pounds.

On signing his five-and-a-half-year contract, the 25-year-old said: “I am very happy for this opportunity to be back at this club.

I feel very good because of that and just want to say I will give my best to help the team and make the Chelsea fans happy.”

Jose Mourinho added: “I am very pleased that Nemanja is returning to Chelsea.

He has grown as a player in Portugal and has become a fantastic all-round midfielder.

I am sure he will become a very important member of the squad and help us to achieve our ambitions.”

The Serbian midfielder, who will wear the number 21 shirt, returns for a second spell at Stamford Bridge, having previously represented the Blues after joining from MSK Kosice in 2009.

He made three substitute appearances in the 2009/10 season and departed in January 2011 as part of the deal which brought David Luiz, one of the most coveted players in Europe, from Benfica to London.

Matic made his Chelsea debut aged 21 during a 4-0 league victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and also featured in the final-day 8-0 win over Wigan Athletic in 2010 which saw Chelsea clinch the title.

In August 2010, he went on a season-long loan to Vitesse Arnhem to gain more first-team experience and although the transfer to Benfica was agreed mid-season, Vitesse retained his services for the remainder of that campaign.

The 6ft 4in, left-footed player made his debut for the Portuguese club as a late substitute in a 2-1 win over Vitoria Guimaraes at the start of the 2011/12 campaign, and with the benefit of regular first-team appearances, his game matured.

Composed, comfortable in possession and with a good range of passing, he scored his first goal for the Lisbon club during a 4-1 win against Vitoria Setubal in January 2012, and acquired valuable Champions League experience, including games against Chelsea in both legs of the quarter-finals.

While his first season at the club was a solid one, the 2012/13 campaign saw Matic flourish.

With Javi Garcia departing for Manchester City, he became a formidable presence in the centre of midfield, impressing to such an extent he was named Portuguese Player of the Month on three occasions.

He also added more goals to his game and a stunning volley in a 2-2 draw against Porto was last week voted second in FIFA's Puskas Award for the best goal scored anywhere in the world in 2013.

Matic played in all but one of Benfica's matches as they progressed to last season's Europa League final, where they were beaten by Chelsea in Amsterdam.

They were also pipped to the Portuguese title by Porto, with a solitary point separating the two big rivals, but on a personal note, the season ended in a memorable manner for the Serbian when he was named Primeira Liga Player of the Year.

The opportunity to play regularly for one of Europe's biggest teams has undoubtedly aided Matic's development over the last two seasons, and he continued to impress during the first half of the current campaign in Portugal.

For Chelsea fans asking why the club got rid of him in the first place there is a simple answer; Matic is not the same player today that he was three years ago.

He is a tireless worker and has got better every single day thanks to his hard work and dedication.

It is truly amazing to see the progress that he has made and how far he has come.

Clearly, the path to success has been long and hard for Matic, who has spent the majority of his career proving his doubters wrong.

He leaves Benfica top of the table, having been the heart and soul for the Eagles this season.

His calming presence and leadership from midfield helped propel them above rivals Sporting CP and Porto, and while Benfica will find it very hard to replace him, their financial struggles left them with no choice but to sell.

His influence on the Serbian national side cannot be overestimated, either.

After a dispute with former national team manager Sinisa Mihajlovic kept him out of the picture for a year, he has returned to boost his teammates.

Serbia's performances have improved tenfold since his comeback and the national team is once again heading in the right direction following a dark period under Mihajlovic and Vladimir Petrovic.

There is no doubt that he is now ready to become Jose Mourinho's go-to man at Stamford Bridge.

The man who played just 43 Premier League minutes in his first spell at Chelsea now boasts everything you would look for in a defensive midfielder.

He is very strong and easily outmuscles his opponents, his tackling is superb and his interceptions are a joy to watch.

His ability to read the game and pick the perfect moment to swoop in and recover possession is second to none and he’s not bad in the air, either.

But his vast qualities are not limited to the uglier side of the game; his technical ability is top-notch, he is a very good passer and boasts the ability to perfectly pick out his teammates.

His shooting has also improved to the point where he is a credible threat from long range, while his aerial ability makes him dangerous at corners.

Simply, though, Matic is the perfect fit for Chelsea's midfield, as his defensive abilities will perfectly complement the club's ranks of playmakers and attacking midfielders.

He will provide the perfect cover, becoming the foundation of Mourinho's line-up.

He has used the last three years to prove himself and Chelsea fans should have no doubt about his current ability: they can rest easy knowing that Nemanja Matic can control their midfield for years to come.