- Roberto Di Matteo
Infobox Football biography
playername = Roberto Di Matteo
fullname = Roberto Di Matteo
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1970|5|29
currentclub = Milton Keynes Dons (manager)
years = 1988–1991
FC Schaffhausen FC Zürich FC Aarau
caps(goals) = 050 0(2)
nationalyears = 1994–1998
nationalteam = Italy
nationalcaps(goals) = 034 0(2)
manageryears = 2008–
managerclubs = Milton Keynes Dons
Roberto Di Matteo (born
May 29, 1970in Schaffhausen, Canton of Schaffhausen) is a Swiss-Italian former professional footballer and current manager of Milton Keynes Dons having been unveiled on July 3, 2008. A midfielder, his career consisted of spells at FC Schaffhausen(1988–91), FC Zürich(1991–92), FC Aarau(1992–93), Lazio (1993–96), and Chelsea (1996–2002). He was capped 34 times, scoring two goals for the Italian national team, and played for his country in the UEFA Euro 1996and 1998 FIFA World Cup.
witzerland and Italy
Born in Switzerland to Italian parents, Di Matteo began his career with Swiss club Schaffhausen, before joining FC Zürich in 1991 and FC Aarau a year later. He won the Swiss Nationalliga A with Aarau in 1993 and in the same season was awarded Switzerland's Player of the Year award. He signed for Lazio in the summer of 1993 for £550,000. Di Matteo became a regular in the Lazio side and made his debut for Italy during his time with the
Romegiants for three seasons. However, a falling out with coach Zdeněk Zemanover a defensive error which resulted in a loss to Internazionale, ended his career with the club. As a result he was signed by Ruud Gullitfor English side Chelsea for a then club record fee of £4.9m.
Di Matteo made an impressive start to his Chelsea career, scoring the winner against Middlesbrough on his home debut. His passing ability and accurate long-distance shooting saw him become one of the driving forces of Chelsea's resurgence in the late 1990s. He contributed nine goals in his first season, including long-range efforts against both Tottenham Hotspur and Wimbledon. He helped the club finish 6th in the league, their highest placing since 1989-90, and reach the
1997 FA Cup Finalat Wembley. Within 43 seconds of the kick-off, Di Matteo scored from 30 yards, the fastest ever goal in a Wembley cup final, to set Chelsea on their way to a 2–0 win.
The following season he again proved his worth to the team, chipping in with ten goals and numerous assists, as Chelsea went on to claim the Football League Cup and the
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, their first European honour since 1971. In the League Cup final, again against Middlesbrough, Di Matteo scored the 2nd goal in a 2-0 win. Season 1998-99 turned out to be a special season for Chelsea as they went on an unbeaten run of over 20 games to finish third in the Premier Leagueand qualify for the Champions League. Di Matteo played a pivotal role in midfield next to Gustavo Poyet, Dennis Wiseand Dan Petrescuand scored some memorable goals, among them a strike against Coventry City in the dying seconds of the game.
During the 1999-00 season he was hampered by injury but returned late in the season to score a handful of crucial goals, including his third Cup-winning goal at Wembley, once again in the FA Cup. In a dour match, Di Matteo capitalised on an error by Aston Villa goalkeeper David James to score the winner in the 71st minute, handing Chelsea their fourth major trophy in three years. This lead Di Matteo to comment on the old Wembley Stadium saying "It's a shame they're tearing the old place down - it has been a very lucky ground for me".
Early into the 2000-01 season, Di Matteo sustained a triple leg fracture in a
UEFA Cuptie against Swiss side FC St. Gallenand spent the next eighteen months on the sidelines. He eventually gave up on his comeback and retired in February 2002 at the age of 31. [cite news | date= 2002-02-19| url=http://soccernet.espn.go.com/archive/england/news/2002/0219/20020219cfcdimatteo.html | title=Injury forces di Matteo to retire | publisher=Soccernet | accessdate=2007-05-14 | author=] In his six years at Chelsea, he made 175 appearances and scored 26 goals. He was selected in the squad of Chelsea's greatest ever XI, and former manager Claudio Ranierihanded him the honour of leading the Chelsea team out in the 2002 FA Cup final, which Chelsea went on to lose 2-0 to rivals Arsenal. Di Matteo still occasionally returns to Chelsea for promotional purposes on match days and also to use the new gym at the Cobham training base.
In an interview given to Chelsea TV on
24 January 2007, Di Matteo gently urged the Chelsea board to resolve their differences with manager José Mourinho, saying that it was important to maintain continuity in order to achieve long-term success.
July 2, 2008, Di Matteo was appointed as Milton Keynes Donsnew manager after Paul Inceleft to join Blackburn Rovers. [cite news | date= 2008-06-30| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/milton_keynes_dons/7484484.stm | title=Di Matteo appointed MK Dons coach | publisher=BBC Sport
accessdate=2008-07-02 | author=] He in turn appointed former Chelsea colleague
Eddie Newtonas his assistant and Ade Mafe, who appeared at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympicsand worked at Chelsea during Di Matteo's time there, as his fitness coach. This will be Di Matteo's first experience as manager. He began qualifying for his UEFAcoaching licences while still playing - completing his "B" licence during his time with Chelsea.
* [http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_3759521,00.html MK Dons linked with Di Matteo]
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