Darmian makes move to Rome
Luciano Spalletti has made his first official signing of the summer transfer window, bringing in Italian right-back Matteo Darmian from Serie A side Torino for the fee of £6 million pounds.
Darmian started playing football with Carcor, an amateur club based in Rescaldina, whose coach, was his father Giovanni. In 2000, he joined A.C. Milan's youth system. He made his first-team debut for the Rossoneri on 28 November 2006, aged only 16, in Coppa Italia against Brescia, replacing Kakha Kaladze at half-time. Six months later, on 19 May 2007, he made also his Serie A debut in a match against Udinese, coming off the bench late in the second half. During the 2007–08 season he became the leader and captain of the A.C. Milan Primavera, collecting another appearance for the first-team in Coppa Italia. The following season, the 19-year-old defender collected an additional three league appearances.
On 11 July 2010 it was announced that Matteo Darmian would join Palermo's pre-season training camp in Austria, after Milan and the Sicilians agreed in principle about a transfer move involving him. The move, unveiled as a co-ownership bid, was officially announced by Palermo the next day. The fee was €800,000. Darmian made his debut for the rosanero on 16 September 2010 in a Europa League game against Sparta Prague (2–3), which also earned him his debut in European competition. His Palermo debut in Serie A was during the fourth game of the league, substituting Javier Pastore in a 3–1 win against Juventus. On 6 February 2011 he played his first game as a starter in the league away at Lecce (4–2), but was substituted at 33' due to injury. He finished the season with 16 appearances among Serie A, Europa League and Coppa Italia.
On 23 June 2011 Milan and Palermo renewed Darmian's co-ownership and on 12 July he was officially loaned to Torino in Serie B. He made his debut for the Granata on 13 August 2011 in the second round of Coppa Italia; won 1–0 against Lumezzane and scored his first goal on 30 October against Empoli (2–1). On 13 November Darmian suffered a muscle lesion against Bari and consequently sidelined for five games. He concluded 2011–12 Serie B season with 33 appearances and one goal, as Torino achieved promotion.
On 20 June 2012 Palermo redeemed his 50% share from Milan for €500,000 and on 5 July, Darmian's return to Torino was formulised under a new co-ownership agreement for a fee of €825,000. Darmian made 32 appearances for Torino in the 2012–13 Serie A season and two in Coppa Italia. On 20 June 2013 Torino redeemed the remainder of his contract from Palermo.
In the 2013–14 Serie A Darmian enjoyed a breakthrough season in an overachieving Torino side that finished 7th and qualified for the Europa League. For his performance, he was awarded Serie A's "Right-Back of The Year" at the Gran Galà del calcio on 15 December 2014. He featured 38 times in all competitions for Torino and made his 100th league appearance for the club on 18 May 2014, a 2–2 draw away to Fiorentina.
On 7 August 2014, his first appearance of the 2014–15 season, Darmian scored his first goal in European competition against Sweden's Brommapojkarna, valid for the second leg of the 2014–15 Europa League third qualifying round, won 4–0 in Turin (7–0 on agg.). On 29 October Darmian scored his first goal in Serie A to secure a 1–0 victory over Parma. He returned to the score-sheet in the final match of the Europa League group stage against Copenhagen, 1–5 in favour of Torino.
After playing for Italy at under-17 and under-18 levels, he was called up to the under-19, led by Francesco Rocca in July 2008. At the UEFA European U-19 Championship he played a starter, always in the role of a right full-back. In 2009, he took part in the Mediterranean Games, playing seven games with the Italy under-20. On 25 March 2009, he made his debut with the Italy U-21 in a friendly match against Austria (2–2), played in Vienna. From 10 to 12 March 2014, he was called up to the senior national team by coach Cesare Prandelli as part of an internship to evaluate young players ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, confirmed on the next meeting between 14 and 15 April.
Given his excellent season with Torino, on 13 May 2014, he was included in the list of 30 provisional players for the 2014 World Cup. He made his debut for the Azzurri on 31 May 2014, at age 24, playing as a right-back in a friendly match with Ireland (0–0) held in London. The following day, he was included in the list of 23 players selected for the World Cup. On 14 June, he made his debut at the World Cup, playing as a starter in Italy's opening game against England, won 2–1. He also played the next two games against Costa Rica and Uruguay, both lost 1–0 with Italy failing to qualify for the next round. In early 2015 he was awarded with the Pallone Azzurro as the best player of the national team for 2014.
Although he started his career as a centre-back, in recent years Darmian has played as a dynamic fullback on either flank; although he prefers the right. He is known for his good quality of offensive and defensive play, his tactical awareness, his pace, and his stamina, attributes which have led him to be compared to legendary Italian fullback Antonio Cabrini. In 2012–13, Darmian made the most tackles per game (5.3) across Europe's top five leagues.