Sport Soccer

Friday 6 December 2019

5 things about new Manchester United signing Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly has joined Manchester United from Villarreal
Eric Bailly has joined Manchester United from Villarreal

Manchester United have signed Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly from Villarreal on a four-year contract.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things you may not know about the 22-year-old, who is the first player to join United since Jose Mourinho's appointment as manager.

1. Born in Bingerville in south-east Ivory Coast in April 1994, he has made relatively few senior appearances to date. He has played 47 times for Villarreal in all competitions since signing for them in January 2015, just after the Yellow Submarine had sold fellow centre-back Gabriel to Arsenal. He had only had five run-outs for his previous club Espanyol - four starts after making his debut as a substitute in October 2014 - and prior to that he had made a total of 21 appearances for their B team.

2. A strong, tall presence at the back he made a notable error towards the end of his first season with Villarreal, giving away possession just inside his own half in a home match against Atletico Madrid in April 2015 and Fernando Torres pounced, collecting the ball and bursting forward to score what proved to be the only goal of the game.

3. He has picked up plenty of bookings in his career to date. In only his fifth appearance for Villarreal he was sent off having been shown two yellow cards, and he was booked four more times between then and the end of that season. In 2015-16, he was yellow-carded 14 times, with two in a game in October amounting to another red - but the fact that the last of those was on March 2 suggests he is cleaning up his act.

4. He also enjoyed considerable success last season, being a key player for Villarreal as they secured a fourth-placed finish in the Primera Division and reached the Europa League semi-finals. He played in the last-four first leg against Liverpool as his side won 1-0, and was then missing with an injury when they were beaten 3-0 in the reverse fixture at Anfield.

:5. At international level he has has made a fine impact as well. He made his Ivory Coast debut in a friendly against Nigeria in January 2015 - and the following month, having featured in every match of the campaign, scored in the penalty shoot-out as the Elephants beat Ghana in the African Nations Cup final.

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