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Batshuayi playing for <a href="/content/Belgium_national_football_team" style="color:blue">Belgium</a> in 2018
Batshuayi playing for Belgium in 2018

Michy Batshuayi-Atunga (French pronunciation: ​[mi(t)ʃi batʃu.a.(j)i]; born 2 October 1993) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Premier League club Chelsea and the Belgium national team.

He began his professional career at Standard Liège in 2011, scoring 44 goals in 120 games across all competitions. His 21 goals in the 2013–14 Belgian Pro League made him the second-highest scorer and contributed to his Ebony Shoe Award. He then transferred to Marseille for £4.5 million, helping them reach the 2016 Coupe de France Final. In July 2016, he was signed by Chelsea for £33 million, and scored the goal that won the Premier League title in his debut season.

Batshuayi scored in his international debut for Belgium against Cyprus in March 2015. He was part of their side that reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016 and third place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Club career

Born in Brussels, Batshuayi had a nomadic youth career with spells at Evere, Schaarbeek, Brussels (twice) and Anderlecht before he joined Standard Liège.[10]

Batshuayi made his debut for the senior team on 20 February 2011 in a 4–1 loss away to Gent, replacing Franck Berrier for the last seven minutes.[11] Six days later, he made his only other appearance of the Belgian Pro League season, filling in for Aloys Nong in the last minute of a 3–0 victory against KV Mechelen at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.[12]

On 21 July, Batshuayi was an unused substitute in the 2011 Belgian Super Cup, a 1–0 loss to Gent.[13] On 15 December, he scored his first professional goal, the only one away to Copenhagen in the last match of Group B during the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League group stage, advancing his team into the knockout stages.[14] Six days later, he added two more in a 2–1 win at Lierse in the quarter-final first leg of the Belgian Cup, although his side lost 5–4 on aggregate.[15] He scored his first league goal on 14 January 2012 to round off a 6–1 home win over Germinal Beerschot,[16] and ended the campaign with six. He was sent-off as a substitute in a 3–2 loss at Genk on 22 April for stamping on the chest of Jeroen Simaeys, for which the Royal Belgian Football Association suspended him for four matches.[17]

Batshuayi was again sent-off on 25 September 2012 in a 3–2 win at Mouscron in the sixth round of the Belgian Cup, having elbowed Benjamin Delacourt within the first half-hour; he was suspended for the next two matches of the competition and fined €200.[18] In an interview a month later, he said he felt "destroyed" by the suspension.[19] He recorded 12 goals in 26 matches over the campaign, including two on 19 May 2013 to decide a 4–3 home win over Lokeren.[20]

In the 2013–14 season, Batshuayi scored 21 goals in 34 matches, putting him in second place for the league's top scorer behind Lokeren's Hamdi Harbaoui.[10] This tally included a first professional hat-trick on 15 September in a 4–2 win at Oostende.[21] He was awarded the Ebony Shoe Award for the season's best player of African origin, ahead of Harbaoui.[22]

On 8 August 2014, Batshuayi signed with French club Marseille for a £4.5 million transfer fee.[23][24] He made his debut the next day as Marseille began the Ligue 1 season with a 3–3 draw at Bastia, replacing Dimitri Payet with 11 minutes remaining. On 29 October, he scored his first goal for the club to open a 2–1 defeat at Rennes in the third round of the Coupe de la Ligue.[25] He scored nine league goals for Marcelo Bielsa's team, despite rarely starting matches.[10] On 22 February 2015, within five minutes of coming on for André-Pierre Gignac, he scored twice away to Saint-Étienne in an eventual 2–2 draw.[26] In March, he added further braces in away victories at Toulouse and Lens (6–1 and 4–0 respectively), the latter after taking Gignac's place at half-time.[27][28]

On 23 August 2015, Batshuayi scored his first goals of the season, a brace, in a 6–0 victory over Troyes.[29] Soon after, club president Vincent Lebrune said, "There is not a single top 15 world club that is not interested in Batshuayi. He is one of the most wanted players on the market. There were a lot of offers for him this summer, but he didn't want to leave. He's proving himself on the pitch, and if clubs want him then they are going to have to pay around €50m."[10] By the mid-season break, he had 11 goals from 19 matches, behind only arch-rival Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimović, with Marseille in tenth in the league table and PSG in first.[10] Batshuayi finished the league season with 17 goals. He added two more goals from five games in the Coupe de France, one being in the final, where Marseille lost 4–2 to PSG on 21 May 2016.[30]

In April 2016, English Premier League club West Ham United were reported as the favourites to sign Batshuayi, having offered a €35 million bid.[31] Two months later, their London neighbours Crystal Palace made a €38 million (£31.5 million) bid which would have made him their record signing, while Italian champions Juventus were also among the interested parties.[24] Although Palace's bid was accepted, Batshuayi did not want to make the move, instead engaging with a €40 million (£33.2 million) offer from Chelsea, for which he left Belgium's UEFA Euro 2016 squad to undergo a medical.[32] On 3 July, he signed a five-year deal at Chelsea.[33] He was the first signing by their new manager Antonio Conte, and said his aim was to get the team back to winning the Premier League and qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.[34] Batshuayi added he was eager to work alongside their midfielder Oscar.[35] Batshuayi joined Chelsea for pre-season in Austria, and on 20 July, he made his debut in a friendly against Wolfsberger AC.[36] A day later, he scored his first two goals in an 8–0 friendly victory against Atus Ferlach.[37]

On 15 August, Batshuayi made his competitive debut in Chelsea's opening match of the 2016–17 season, coming off the substitutes' bench to set-up Diego Costa's late winner in a 2–1 win over West Ham.[38] Five days later, after replacing Oscar, he went on to score his first Premier League goal in a victory by the same score at Watford.[39] On 23 August, Batshuayi made his first start for Chelsea in the EFL Cup, scoring a brace in a 3–2 home victory against Bristol Rovers.[40]

On 12 May, Batshuayi came on as a second-half substitute against West Bromwich Albion with the score 0–0, with Chelsea needing a victory to clinch the Premier League title.[41] In the 82nd minute, he slotted a goal past goalkeeper Ben Foster to win Chelsea their fifth Premier League title.[42] Batshuayi went on to score three goals in Chelsea's final two matches, including the last goal of the season in the 92nd minute of Chelsea's 5–1 win over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. Batshuayi finished the season with 5 goals in only 236 minutes of Premier League action, equaling a rate of one goal every 47 minutes.[43]

Batshuayi scored his first Chelsea hat-trick on 20 September 2017 in a 5–1 home win over Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup.[44] In a UEFA Champions League group stage match away to Atlético Madrid a week later, substitute Batshuayi scored the added-time winning goal in a 2–1 victory.[45] On 17 January 2018, he scored in a third-round FA Cup win over Norwich City on his 50th appearance for Chelsea. The match finished 1–1 after extra time, with the Blues going on to win 5–3 on penalties.[46]

On 31 January 2018, Batshuayi joined German Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the 2017–18 season.[47] His debut came on 2 February away to 1. FC Köln, where he scored twice and had a third disallowed via the video assistant referee, as he was in an offside position. He also made an assist. The match ended 3–2 to Dortmund as an away victory.[48] Batshuayi became the first player to score multiple goals on his Bundesliga debut since the player he replaced at Dortmund, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.[49] The following week, on matchday 22, he again scored the opening goal against Hamburger SV as Dortmund won 2–0.[50] On 15 February, he scored twice against Atalanta in the round of 32 first leg of the UEFA Europa League as Dortmund won 3–2 and took the lead going into the second leg.[51] Dortmund's draw in Italy meant the club progressed to the round of 16, although Batshuayi reported hearing "monkey noises" during the match.[52] In March, UEFA's investigation led to both teams being fined for use of pyrotechnics and other crowd disturbances, but Batshuayi's allegations of racism were dismissed. He criticised European football's governing body for their judgement.[53] In a 2–0 loss to Schalke 04 on 15 April, Batshuayi injured his ankle ligaments and was ruled out for the remainder of the season.[54]

On 10 August 2018, Batshuayi was loaned to Spanish La Liga club Valencia for the 2018–19 season.[55] Ten days later, he made his Liga debut as a 76th-minute substitute for Carlos Soler in a 1–1 home draw with Atlético Madrid, then continued that role in subsequent matches in a side possessing Rodrigo, Santi Mina and Kevin Gameiro as striking options.[56] On 26 September, he scored his first goal in a 1–1 draw with Celta de Vigo, therefore becoming the first player to score in the top leagues of France, Germany, England and Spain in the 21st century.[57]

In January 2019, Batshuayi's loan to Valencia was cut short and he joined English Premier League club Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the 2018–19 season.[58][59] He made his debut on 2 February in a home 2–0 win against Fulham, providing an assist for Jeffrey Schlupp to score the second goal.[60] On 23 February, Batshuayi scored his first goal for Crystal Palace in 4–1 win against Leicester City.[61]

International career

Batshuayi was eligible to play for the DR Congo national team through his parents, but in March 2015, he ruled out this option, stating that although his Congolese heritage is important to him, he would rather represent Belgium.[62]

Batshuayi made his international debut for Belgium on 28 March 2015 in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match against Cyprus. Replacing Christian Benteke in the 77th minute, he scored from outside the penalty area three minutes later to seal a 5–0 victory at home.[63] He was selected for the final tournament in France, making his competition debut in the last 16 against Hungary in Toulouse on 26 June. With his first touch, he finished Eden Hazard's assist for the second goal of a 4–0 victory.[64]

In Belgium's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification, Batshuayi scored once in a 4–3 win away to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 October 2017, with the Red Devils already assured of their place in the final tournament.[65] Manager Roberto Martínez named him in the 23-man squad to go to Russia.[66] In their second group stage match, he came on as a 68th-minute substitute against Tunisia and missed several chances before finally scoring the fifth goal for Belgium in a 5–2 victory.[67]

Style of play

A December 2015 profiling by FourFourTwo likened Batshuayi for his speed, strength, positioning and link-up play to Didier Drogba, despite being shorter than the Ivorian.[10]

Personal life

Batshuayi is nicknamed "Batsman", a play on the name of the superhero Batman.[31] His younger brother Aaron Leya Iseka plays for Toulouse in the same position, coming through at Anderlecht and signing for Marseille on loan, one month after Batshuayi's exit.[68]

Career statistics






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