Roberto Di Matteo


Roberto Di Matteo

Infobox Football biography
playername = Roberto Di Matteo


fullname = Roberto Di Matteo
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1970|5|29
cityofbirth = Schaffhausen
countryofbirth = Switzerland
height =
currentclub = Milton Keynes Dons (manager)
position = Midfielder (retired)
youthyears =
youthclubs =
years = 1988–1991
1991–1992
1992–1993
1993–1996
1996–2002
clubs = FC Schaffhausen
FC Zürich
FC Aarau
Lazio
Chelsea
Total
caps(goals) = 050 0(2)
034 0(6)
033 0(1)
087 0(7)
119 (15)
323 (31)
nationalyears = 1994–1998
nationalteam = Italy
nationalcaps(goals) = 034 0(2)
manageryears = 2008–
managerclubs = Milton Keynes Dons

Roberto Di Matteo (born May 29, 1970 in 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 1996 and 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Career

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 Rome giants for three seasons. However, a falling out with coach Zdeněk Zeman over a defensive error which resulted in a loss to Internazionale, ended his career with the club. As a result he was signed by Ruud Gullit for English side Chelsea for a then club record fee of £4.9m.

Chelsea

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 Final at 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 League and qualify for the Champions League. Di Matteo played a pivotal role in midfield next to Gustavo Poyet, Dennis Wise and Dan Petrescu and 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 Cup tie against Swiss side FC St. Gallen and 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 Ranieri handed 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.

Management

On July 2, 2008, Di Matteo was appointed as Milton Keynes Dons new manager after Paul Ince left 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
date=2008-07-02
accessdate=2008-07-02 | author=
] He in turn appointed former Chelsea colleague Eddie Newton as his assistant and Ade Mafe, who appeared at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and 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 UEFA coaching licences while still playing - completing his "B" licence during his time with Chelsea.

References

External links

* [http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11095_3759521,00.html MK Dons linked with Di Matteo]


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