Eric Bailly

Ivorian footballer
Ivorian defender Eric Bailly Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

Eric Bailly is an Ivorian footballer who currently plays at Premier League club Manchester United.

The African centre-half started his professional career at La Liga outfit Espanyol in 2013 after he progressed through the youth ranks at the Spanish outfit.

Bailly completed a move to Espanyol’s La Liga rivals Villarreal in a £5m (€5.7m) deal in January 2015.

After 18 months at Villarreal, Eric earned interest from Manchester United and the powerful centre-half sealed a £30m move to Old Trafford in June 2016.

Bailly won the Europa League and the League Cup in his first season at the Red Devils to establish himself as a key member of Jose Mourinho’s team.

The Manchester United defender has made 28 appearances for the Ivory Coast national team since making his international debut in 2015.

Personal Information:

Date of birth: 12 April 1994
Age: 27 years old
Place of birth: Bingerville, Ivory Coast
Nationality: Ivorian
Height: 187cm / 6ft 2 ins
Weight: 77kg / 170 lbs
Wages: £75,000 a week
Transfer value: £30 million

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Bailly began his career at Spanish side Espanyol in 2011.

Eric was spotted during a tournament Burkina Faso and brought to the La Liga side.

He was part of the Spanish outfit’s youth system for two seasons before the African defender was promoted to Espanyol’s B side.

He had to wait over 10 months to receive his work permit at Cornella-El Prat to limit his impact on the La Liga outfit.

Bailly made 21 appearances for the second string before the centre-half was called up to the senior squad.

Eric made his Espanyol debut as a second-half substitute in a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad in La Liga on 5 October 2014.

The Ivorian star continued to impress for the Catalan side over the next 14 months before he attracted interest from Espanyol’s rivals Villarreal.


Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

Eric completed a move to Villarreal in a £5m (€5.7m) transfer on 29 January 2015 despite taking part in the African Cup of Nations tournament.

Bailly signed a five and a half year contract with Villarreal to ensure his future at the club until 2022.

The African defender was signed as a replacement for Brazilian centre-half Gabriel Paulista, who completed an £11.3m transfer to Arsenal in the 2015 January transfer window.

Given his participation at the African Cup of Nations, Bailly didn’t make his La Liga debut for Villarreal until 22 February almost a month after his official transfer.

Bailly helped the Yellow Submarine to secure a 1-0 win over Eibar in La Liga.

He started Villarreal’s 1-1 draw with La Liga giants Real Madrid eight days later to highlight his immediate importance to his new team.

Eric made his first Europa League appearance in a 1-1 draw with Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final. Villarreal lost 2-1 to their Spanish rivals.

The African defender finished the season with 18 appearances in all competitions.

Bailly started Villarreal’s 1-1 draw with Real Betis in their opening game of the 2015-16 La Liga season.

The Ivorian star helped Villarreal to win their next six games in all competitions.

Eric was sent off for the first time in a 2-1 loss to Celta Vigo at Estadio El Madrigal on 18 October 2015.

Four days later, Bailly scored his first goal for Villarreal in a 4-0 win over Dinamo Minsk in the Europa League.

Villarreal continued to progress through the Europa League thanks to victories over Bayer Leverkusen, Napoli and Spartak Moscow.

Bailly started Villarreal’s 1-0 win against Premier League side Liverpool in the last four of the competition. He didn’t feature in the second leg as the Reds eased to a comfortable 3-0 win.

The African centre-half finished the season with one goal and two assists in 40 games in all competitions.

Manchester United

Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

Eric completed a £30m move to Premier League giants Manchester United from Spanish side Villarreal on 8 June 2016.

The Ivory Coast international signed a five-and-a half-year deal with the 20-time English champions.

Bailly was Jose Mourinho’s second signing as Manchester United manager in the 2016 summer transfer window.

Eric made his competitive debut in a 2-1 win against defending Premier League champions Leicester City in the Community Shield at Wembley. He was named the man of the match for his performance.

A week later, Bailly was once again the standout player in Manchester United’s 3-1 win against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in their opening Premier League game of the season.

The African defender helped Manchester United to win their opening four Premier League games before Bailly was powerless to prevent the Red Devils from losing 2-1 to Manchester City.

Manchester United lost their next two games before an upsurge in form.

Bailly was forced to spend two months on the sidelines following a serious knee problem in a 4-0 loss to Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge on 23 October 2016.

He returned to the Manchester United starting line-up for a 2-0 win against Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League on 8 December.

Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

The African centre-half was injured again in January before he was restored to the Manchester United side for a 3-0 win against Leicester City at King Power Stadium on 5 February 2017.

Bailly won his first major trophy when the Ivorian star helped Manchester United to ease to a 3-2 win against Southampton in the League Cup final at Wembley.

He played a key role in Manchester United’s run to the Europa League final.

Eric was sent off in the Red Devils’ 2-1 win against Celta Vigo in the semi-final to rule him out of the Europa League showpiece.

Bailly finished his first season at Old Trafford with 40 appearances in all competitions.

He was named in the Europa League squad of the 2016-17 season.

Eric made his first Premier League appearance of the 2017-18 campaign in a 4-0 win over West Ham United.

Bailly helped the Red Devils to remain unbeaten in their opening six games in the Premier League.

Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

The African star started his first Champions League game as a Manchester United player in a 4-1 win at CSKA Moscow in September.

Bailly tasted successive losses at Stamford Bridge after Manchester United suffered a 1-0 loss to Chelsea.

Eric suffered an ankle problem following the Premier League clash to rule the centre-half out of action for four months.

His disappointing second season at Old Trafford ended with a mere 13 appearances in the Premier League.

He was an unused substitute in the FA Cup final.

International career

Bailly made his first appearance for the Ivory Coast in a friendly against Nigeria in 2014.

The centre-half featured in all six of Ivory Coast’s games in the African Cup of Nations en route to winning the competition.

Eric was part of the Ivory Coast squad for the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

The Manchester United defender has made 28 appearances for the Ivory Coast national team.

Personal life

Photo: Eric Bailly / Instagram

Eric is married to his long-term partner Vanessa.

The pair met when Vanessa was running a roadside mobile phone kiosk in Abidjan.

The Manchester United defender wed Vanessa in June 2016 days after his move to Old Trafford.

The couple had their second child in 2017.

Interesting facts about Eric Bailly

• Eric was regularly described as the next Kolo Toure during his formative years at Espanyol and Villarreal.

• Bailly was born in the same Ivorian town as Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony – Bingerville.

• The Manchester United defender was named in the African team of the year in 2016 and 2017.

• Bailly won 44 of the 50 tackles he attempted during his final season in La Liga.

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