Willian is a Brazilian footballer currently at Chelsea. Find out more about Willian in our in-depth biography
Willian is a Brazilian footballer who currently plays at Premier League club Chelsea.
The South American midfielder started his professional career at Brazilian club Corinthians before he moved to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007.
Willian spent six seasons at the decorated Ukrainian club before a lucrative move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013.
The Brazil playmaker lasted less than six months at Anzhi before he completed a switch to Premier League side Chelsea.
Willian has won two Premier League titles and the League Cup during a four-season spell at Stamford Bridge.
The attacker has netted eight goals in 49 appearances for the Brazil national team.
• Date of birth: 9 April 1988
• Age: 33 years old
• Place of birth: Ribeirao Pires, Brazil
• Nationality: Brazilian
• Height: 175cm / 5ft 9 ins
• Weight: 69kg / 154 lbs
• Transfer value: £30 million
• Wages: £120,000 a week
Willian started his career with famous Brazilian club Corinthians in 2006.
The talented midfielder was handed the number 10 shirt and made eight appearances in all competitions to make a tentative start.
Willian came into his won during his second season at Corinthians with a return of two goals in 33 games to earn a move to Ukraine.
Shakhtar Donetsk signed Willian in a €14m deal on 23 August 2007.
The Brazilian forward signed a five-year contract with Shakthar to start his career in Europe.
Willian’s debut for his new club came in a 2–1 league victory over Chornomorets Odesa just under a month after his arrival.
The playmaker’s first goal came four weeks later in a 4–1 victory over Arsenal Kyiv in the Ukrainian Cup.
Willian got his first taste of Champions League football in a 3-0 loss to Serie A giants AC Milan.
He scored one goal in 28 appearances in all competitions to win the Ukrainian Premier League and Ukrainian Cup in his first season.
Willian’s second campaign at Shakhtar Donetsk was notable for a winner in a 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv in the league.
The attacking midfielder played in Shakthar’s 2-1 win against Bundesliga side Werder Bremen in the Uefa Cup final.
Willian scored eight times in 52 games in all competitions as Shakhtar won the Ukrainian Premier League, Ukrainian Cup and the Uefa Cup.
He featured in a 1-0 loss to La Liga side Barcelona in the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco at the start of the 2009-10 seasons.
The playmaker netted his first Europa League goal in a 4-1 win over Belgian side Club Brugge. Shakhtar won the Ukrainian Premier League title once again but fell short in Europe.
Willian produced one of his best Champions League performances in the 2010-11 season with two goals in a 3-0 win over Italian giants AS Roma. His man of the match display helped Shakhtar to reach the quarter-finals for the first time before a 6-1 loss to Barcelona in the last eight.
His penultimate season at Shakhtar saw Willian scored another Champions League goal in a 2-2 draw with Zenit St Petersburg. The South American midfielder helped Shakthar win a third successive Ukrainian Premier League title.
Willian fell out of favour for a spell in the 2012-13 season with uncertainty surrounding his future at the club. The attacker still scored two goals in a 3-2 loss to Chelsea in the Champions League.
Willian completed a surprise €35m move to Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in the 2013 January transfer window.
He picked up an injury problem on his Anzhi debut against Newcastle United in the Europa League to keep him sidelined until April.
The Brazilian’s only goal for Anzhi came in a 3–0 victory against Volga Nizhny Novgorod.
His short spell at the Russian side ended with one goal in 17 appearances in all competitions.
Willian completed a £30m move to Chelsea from Anzhi Makhachkala in the 2013 summer transfer window.
The attacking midfielder penned a five-year deal and was handed the number 22 shirt.
The South American made his Chelsea debut under Jose Mourinho in a 2-1 loss to Basel in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge.
Willian scored on his Premier League appearance in a 3-1 win at Norwich City in October. He doubled his top-flight tally with an effort in a 3-0 victory over Southampton in January 2014.
The Brazilian forward did his reputation with the Chelsea supporters no harm when he scored one of the west London side’s two goals in a 2-0 win against Liverpool FC to prevent their bitter rivals from winning the Premier League title.
Willian was a key player in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign in 2014-15 under Mourinho.
The Chelsea No22 his first goal of the campaign in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa in September. He opened his Champions League account in the blue of Chelsea with a goal against Schalke in Germany.
Willian scored a brilliant free-kick against Liverpool to help Chelsea book their place in the League Cup final at Wembley. He started their 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the home of English football.
He ended the season with four times and made five assists in 49 games in all competitions, including two goals and created three assists in 36 outings in the triumphant Premier League campaign.
The Brazilian enjoyed his most prolific season in his professional career during the 2015-16 season at Chelsea.
Indeed, Willian was the west London side’s most consistent player in an otherwise difficult campaign for Chelsea.
The South American enhanced his reputation as a set-piece specialist with free-kick goals home and away against Maccabi Tel Aviv. Willian netted from dead ball situations against Newcastle United, Southampton, FC Porto and Dynamo Kyiv.
Willian netted five goals and made six assists in 35 games in the Premier League to help the Brazilian playmaker to win Chelsea’s player of the year.
The west London side rewarded Willian with a new four-year deal in July 2016 for his outstanding performances throughout a disappointing campaign for the Blues, resulting in a tenth-placed finish.
The former Shakhtar man opened his account for his fourth season at Chelsea with a goal in a 3-0 home win over Burnley in August 2016.
However, Willian struggled to secure a regular starting spot under Antonio Conte, who relied heavily on Spain international Pedro Rodriguez ahead of Willian.
The South American started 11 games and made a further 15 appearances from the bench in the 2016-17 season. Willian contributed eight goals and two assists to help Chelsea win their second title in three seasons.
He left his mark in the FA Cup semi-final with two goals in a 4-2 win over Spurs at Wembley. The Blues lost 2-1 to Arsenal in the final.
The Brazilian remained in and out of the first-team during Conte’s second season in charge.
Willian celebrated his 200th Chelsea appearance with two goals and two assists in a 4-0 victory over Azerbaijani side Qarabag in the Champions League.
The attacker had to wait until the end of the November to score his first Premier League goal of the campaign. Willian came off the bench to net an equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
He found his first-team opportunities limited throughout the campaign.
Willian’s best performance came in a 1-1 draw with FC Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16.
He publicly criticised manager Antonio Conte after he didn’t start Chelsea FC’s 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
Willian made an impression during his time as a youth player in the Brazil set up.
The Chelsea midfielder was part of the Brazil team that won the 2007 South American Youth Championship against Chile.
He featured for Brazil’s Under-20 side that lost to Spain in the quarter-finals in 2007.
Willian made his first appearance for the Brazil senior team against Gabon in November 2011 after his excellent performances for Shakhtar Donetsk were rewarded with a first cap.
His first goal for Brazil came in a 5-0 win over Honduras in Florida almost 24 months after his debut for his national team.
Willian was named in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil squad for the World Cup on home soil. He was a replacement for Chelsea team-mate and scored in a penalty shootout victory over Chile in the round of 16.
The Brazil star has scored four times in their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign to help his national team secure their place in the major tournament at Russia.
Willian has scored eight times in 49 appearances for Brazil.
Willian is married to Vanessa Martins.
She has been at his side throughout some highs and lows at Stamford Bridge.
The beautiful couple tied the knot in 2011.
Martins was working as a lawyer when she met the Chelsea star.
The couple of twin daughters called Valentina and Manuella.
Willian was very open with his social media followers about his mother’s illness.
She died during Chelsea’s 2-1 win against Leicester City at Stamford Bridge. His team-mate Diego Costa and Eden Hazard made touching tributes to Willian’s deceased mother during the game.
Speaking about his mother’s death, Willian said:
“She was a very important person in my life and will always be important to me. After she died, I stayed in Brazil a week.
“Since I came back, slowly I have started to feel better and to feel I can play for the team again. Now I have to think only about the good things and to keep working and keep playing. That’s all I want to do.”
Interesting facts about Willian
• Willian joined Sa Paolo based side Corinthians as a youngster. He played with Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez at the Brazilian club.
• The Brazilian helped Shakhtar Donetsk win Ukrainian Premier League titles in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Willian won the Premier League crown with Chelsea in 2015 and 2017.
• Willian was close to a move to Liverpool FC before he opted for Chelsea in 2013.
• Indeed, the South American said of the Anfield side before his move to Stamford Bridge: “Every time I get the chance I watch Liverpool. They are a very important club and a lot of players would jump at the chance to play for them.”