Roberto Di Matteo

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Roberto Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo AM.jpg
0Full Name Roberto Di Matteo
0Date of Birth 29 May 1970
0Place of Birth Schaffhausen, Switzerland
0Position Midfielder
0Chelsea career 1996-2002
0Debut 18 August 1996
0Games (goals) 175 (26)
0Other clubs FC Schaffhausen
FC Zürich
FC Aarau
0Chelsea career 2012
0Win percentage 57%
0Honours FA Cup: '12
Champions League: '12
0Other clubs Milton Keynes Dons
West Bromwich Albion

Roberto "Robbie" Di Matteo (born 29 May 1970 in Schaffhausen, Canton of Schaffhausen) is a Swiss-born former Italian international midfielder and former manager of Chelsea. Previously Di Matteo played for Chelsea between 1996 and 2002, joining from Lazio for a club record £4.9 million. His time at Stamford Bridge coincided with a successful period for the club, and he is notable for having scored in two FA Cup finals (1997 and 2000), and a League Cup final (1998). Di Matteo sustained a triple leg fracture in September 2000 and never played for the club again, eventually retiring in 2002.

After spells as manager of Milton Keynes Dons and West Bromwich Albion, Di Matteo returned to Chelsea in the summer of 2011 to be assistant to new manager Andre Villas-Boas. When Villas-Boas was dismissed the following March, Di Matteo was appointed interim manager and guided the club to a seventh FA Cup success and their first UEFA Champions League title. He was subsequently appointed manager and first team coach on a permanent basis, but was fired in November 2012.


Before Chelsea

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 on a free transfer. 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 Inter Milan, ended his career with the club. As a result he was signed by Ruud Gullit for Chelsea for a then club record fee of £4.9m.

Chelsea career

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, and 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, to set Chelsea on their way to a 2-0 win. This was the quickest goal scored in a cup final at the old Wembley, although Louis Saha has since broken the record for the fastest goal scored in an FA Cup final.

Scoring the opening goal in the 1997 FA Cup Final
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 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 second 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 led 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.

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 Arsenal. Following retirement Di Matteo occasionally returned to Chelsea for promotional purposes on match days and also to use the gym at the Cobham training base.

After Chelsea

In July 2008, Di Matteo was appointed as manager of Milton Keynes Dons. 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. He began qualifying for his UEFA coaching licences while still playing - completing his "B" licence during his time with Chelsea. In June 2009 he joined West Bromwich Albion in the newly-created role of head coach, with Eddie Newton joining him as assistant. He guided the club to promotion to the Premier League in his first season in charge. His first match in the top flight brought about his first visit to Chelsea as an opposition manager. He was enthusiastically welcomed by the Stamford Bridge crowd [1], but was disappointed after his side suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat. However, Di Matteo recorded some impressive results in the first half of the season, including victories over Manchester City and Arsenal, and a draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Despite these performances, and the club remaining outside the relegation zone, Di Matteo was relieved of his duties at the Hawthorns in Feburary 2011, after a poor run of results. [2]

Return to Chelsea as coach

On 29 June 2011, during his first press conference as Chelsea manager, André Villas-Boas announced that Di Matteo would be joining his coaching team as Assistant First Team Coach. [3]

Interim manager

FA Cup victory celebrations
Following poor results Villas-Boas was sacked at the beginning of March 2012, and Di Matteo was installed as interim manager until the end of the season. Following his appointment, Di Matteo brought in former Chelsea team mate Eddie Newton in an unspecified coaching role, and stated "We need to regroup. Today I have mostly spoken to the players individually to try to get them in the right frame of mind for the task ahead, and that is our job now." [4]

The new management team had an immediate and positive impact on the side's fortunes, with victories in an FA Cup 5th round replay and against Stoke City in the Premier League ending Chelsea's run of poor results. The next victory was one of the most memorable of the season, the Blues overcoming a 3-1 deficit from the first leg to progress 5-4 on aggregate in the UEFA Champions League against Napoli following a 4-1 extra time win, the side demonstrating a determination that had been absent under Villas-Boas.

Holding aloft the UEFA Champions League trophy
Having overcome Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals, Di Matteo further enhanced his growing reputation with a 5-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in an FA Cup semi-final; a result which would have seemed highly unlikely a few weeks earlier, when Chelsea were in disarray and Spurs were on a fine run of form. A sterner test was to follow for the Italian the following month, when Chelsea took on reigning European Champions Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals. In the first leg Di Matteo's conservative tactics paid off, Chelsea securing a narrow 1-0 advantage to take into the return. In the second leg the Italian saw his side overcome several early setbacks, including losing both centre backs (Cahill to injury, Terry to a red card) and conceding two first half goals, before completing a remarkable recovery with Ramires' sublime chip on the stroke of half time and Fernando Torres' clinching injury time goal either side of a Lionel Messi penalty miss winning Chelsea an improbable, yet deserved place in the final.

On 5 May Di Matteo won his first silverware as manager; the FA Cup, a competition with which he will always be associated by Chelsea fans as a player following his first minute goal against Middlesbrough in 1997. Chelsea won the match against Liverpool 2-1, but greater success was to follow for Di Matteo. Chelsea went into the Champions League final against Bayern Munich as underdogs, but the spirit that the Italian had restored in his squad – and the fans – meant that there was no shortage of confidence or belief. With the Bavarians taking the lead with less than ten minutes left it seemed as if the match might be one too far for Di Matteo's resurgent side, but a Didier Drogba equaliser took the match into extra time, and after an Arjen Robben penalty miss in regulation time Chelsea prevailed in a penalty shoot-out, the Blues winning the competition for the first time. The result also ensured that Chelsea qualified for the following season's tournament.


Following his remarkable success as interim manager, on 13 June 2012 Chelsea confirmed that Di Matteo had been appointed permanent manager of the club. The Italian stated upon the confirmation of his appointment "We all achieved incredible success last season that made history for this great club. Our aim is to continue building on that and I'm already looking forward to the squad's return for pre-season." [5]


Despite a promising start to the season, including away wins at Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, following a run of two wins in eight matches Di Matteo was sacked on 21 November 2012 after defeat to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League left the Blues unlikely to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition. [6] He was replaced by former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez, an appointment that was met with widespread hostility by Chelsea fans. [7]



See also: List of Roberto Di Matteo goals
Season Prem FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
1996-97 34 7 7 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 44 9
1997-98 30 4 1 0 4 3 8 3 1 0 44 10
1998-99 30 2 6 1 2 0 8 0 0 0 46 3
1999-00 18 2 3 2 1 0 9 0 0 0 31 4
2000-01 7 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 10 0
Total 119 15 17 5 10 3 27 3 2 0 175 26


P W D L GF GA GD Win %
League 23 12 6 5 42 27 +15 52%
FA Cup 4 4 0 0 14 4 +10 100%
Lg Cup 2 2 0 0 11 4 +7 100%
Europe 12 6 3 3 22 18 +4 50%
Other 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0%
Total 42 24 9 9 91 56 +35 57%


Di Matteo was capped by Italy 34 times, scoring two goals, and appeared in the 1996 UEFA European Championship and 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Career honours


FC Aarau




Di Matteo's contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season. [8]

Robertson (1905–06) • Lewis (1906–07) • Calderhead (1907–33) • Knighton (1933–39) • Birrell (1939–52)
Drake (1952–61) • Docherty (1961–67) • Sexton (1967–74) • Suart (1974–75) • McCreadie (1975–77) • Shellito (1977–78)
Blanchflower (1978–79) • Hurst (1979–81) • Neal (1981–85) • Hollins (1985–88) • Campbell (1988–91)
Porterfield (1991–93) • Webb (1993) • Hoddle (1993–96) • Gullit (1996–98) • Vialli (1998–00) • Ranieri (2000–04)
Mourinho (2004–07) • Grant (2007–08) • Scolari (2008–09) • Hiddink (2009) • Ancelotti (2009–11)
Villas-Boas (2011–12) • Di Matteo (2012) • Benítez (2012–13) • Mourinho (2013–15) • Hiddink (2015–16)
Conte (2016–)
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