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Getting to Know: Jeremy Mathieu

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A look into Jeremy Mathieu's career as a football player.

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Full name: Jérémy Mathieu
Squad No.: 24
Position: Defender
Date of birth: 19 October 1983
Place of birth: Luxeuil-les-Bains, France
Height: 1.89 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight: 84 kg (185 lbs)

Born in the commune Luxeuil-les-Bains in eastern France, about the same distance from the borders with Switzerland and Germany, Mathieu first encountered professional football in the largest club in the region, FC Sochaux. There he was a highly regarded young left-back who made a strong mark on the club's reserve team, FC Sochaux B.

Moving up to the first team Mathieu made his first team debut in the 2002-03 season. Despite his young age he was entrusted with a spot in the starting XI more often than not in his first season with the first team. Mathieu responded by putting in a good performance after a good performance, quickly becoming a key member of a team that earned a place in the EURO cup. Mathieu maintained his good form over the remaining two seasons he spent with Sochaux, helping his team to the club's first major trophy since 1938, not counting two Ligue 2 titles in between. In three season for Sochaux Mathieu appeared in 108 games, during which he scored an impressive 14 goals.

Then, in the 2005 summer transfer window, Toulouse opened their checkbook and secured Mathieu's services for €5 million. Now in the south of France, Mathieu continued to impress. He immediately became a key member of the team, appearing all but two games in his first season with Toulouse. His second season was similarly successful, but he struggled the following year as he missed half of the campaign with a fractured foot. Regardless of the health problems Mathieu started attracting bigger European clubs, but Toulouse refused to sell him, even though Mathieu was in the last year of his contract. Mathieu had yet another strong season and with his contract over he was able to leave the French club under the Bosman rule. In four seasons Mathieu played in 117 games, scoring five goal for Toulouse.

Valencia were quick to sign Mathieu to a three-year deal. Mathieu started his Valencia career as a left-back, but as injuries riddled the team Mathieu was forced to move to the heart of the defense. He immediately looked comfortable there so for the remainder of his time in Valencia he played both positions, depending on the opponent and the defense's health situation. After a couple contract extensions Mathieu stayed five years with Los Che, making 182 appearances, scoring seven goals in the process.

Desperately needing defensive reinforcements Barcelona decided to meet Mathieu's buyout clause set at €20 million, making the Frenchman the most expensive defenseman over the age of 30. Mathieu quickly became a member of the starting XI in Catalonia, but a couple of nagging injuries have often forced him to watch games from the stands. In roughly half a season's worth of football Mathieu has played in 19 games. He also managed to score one goal.

Profile

Mathieu is a very physical player who can play as a left-back or a center-half. He provides aerial stability regardless of which position he plays at because of his height. Mathieu is also a very strong tackler. Despite his size Mathieu possesses very good speed which is why he was able to spend most of his career playing as a full-back. Despite scoring many goals as a left-back, Mathieu nowadays isn't as much of a threat offensively as he was in his early days.

Honors

FC Sochaux

  • Coupe de la Ligue (1): 2004

Mathieu is currently in the first year of the four year deal he signed upon joining FC Barcelona, a contract that will run out in 2018. The contract includes an option for a fifth season.