Thiago Motta on the ball for Paris Saint-Germain

Euro Stars: Thiago Motta (Italy)

Euro Stars: Thiago Motta (Italy)

Publish on 06/02 at 01:30 - E. DEVIN


The venerable midfielder was key in bringing experience to Paris Saint-Germain and would also help Italy to the final of Euro 2012

For some, Thiago Motta might not even be the most influential Italian to play for Paris Saint-Germain, given Marco Verratti’s record haul of Ligue 1 titles, but there’s little doubting his role in establishing the capital side as a serious project in the QSI era. Along with another arrival from Serie A, Thiago Silva, he added gravitas and experience to the club’s ambitious project, establishing them as a force with which to be reckoned in European football.


Now seemingly on the verge of being named manager of Juventus in his adopted homeland, Motta was born in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, but his Italian heritage allowed him to claim a European passport, and his impressive play in the youth ranks of São Paulo side Juventus da Mooca saw him sign with venerated Spanish side Barcelona. Despite winning two La Liga titles and a UEFA Champions League there alongside the likes of several faces well-known to followers of Ligue 1, including Ronaldinho and Rafael Marquez, injuries hindered his time in Catalonia, and he would join Atlético de Madrid for a nominal fee in 2007. 


Things were scarcely better in the Spanish capital, though, and he made just six appearances in the league before joining Genoa on a free transfer. There, his star rose considerably and he caught the eye of Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, joining alongside Diego Milito. The two were integral in helping Inter to the treble, and the next season saw him make his debut for his adopted homeland under Cesare Prandelli, having previously appeared in a single friendly with Brazil in 2003. 



Things stagnated in Milan after the departure of Mourinho, though and following the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti by PSG, Motta was brought on in January 2012 alongside Alex and Maxwell, the trio bringing a wealth of experience and trophies to the capital. While Montpellier HSC would pip the capital side to an unlikely Ligue 1 crown that year, the seasons that followed were a resounding success.


Motta, along with French international Blaise Matuidi and countryman Verratti, formed a redoubtable trio in midfield, as PSG won the title in five of his six full seasons in France. Along with four Coupe de France triumphs and four Coupe de la Ligue wins, Motta made an impression as the team’s hardworking custodian in central midfield, his elegance and range of passing adding a touch of guile to the hard running of his teammates.


With Italy, he won 30 caps, and helped the team reach the final of Euro 2012, with many ruing his being left on the bench against Spain in the final, leaving the Azzurri’s midfield rather open. Italy would then reach the quarterfinals in 2016, in a tournament that marked Motta’s final appearance for his country.


After retiring as a player with PSG in 2018, Motta became a manager, and despite his often being used in conservative schemes, has made a name for himself with expansive attacking football. Following an ill-fated spell with former club Genoa, he helped an under-strength Spezia side avoid relegation before recently securing Champions League football in his only season in Bologna.  


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