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  • Writer's pictureSimon Basten

Francelino Matuzalém

Francelino da Silva Matuzalém, better known as Matuzalém, was born in Natal in Brazil on June 10, 1980. He began his career with Esporte Clube Vitoria but after a brief stay with Bellinzona in Switzerland he was signed by Parma in co-ownership with Napoli. He joined the Azzurri who were in Serie B and helped them reach promotion but the second year was rather disastrous and Napoli immediately returned to the second tier. At this point Parma bought the other half and sent him to Piacenza. He was Piacenza's first ever foreign player and that year they avoided relegation thanks to a great season by Matuzalém. In 2002 he signed for Brescia and stayed for two years playing with Roberto Baggio in his last two years of active football.

In 2004 he was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. He stayed for three years, became captain, and won the championship twice (2004-05, 2005-06) and the Super Cup once (2005).

In July 2007 he triggered the FIFA article 17. The article basically states that any player who signed a contract before the age of 28 can buy himself out three years after the deal was signed. The player must communicate that he will use the article within 15 days from the last game played, must not sign for a team in the same championship for at least 12 months and must pay a fee to the club he is leaving based on criteria such as how long is left in the contract and his wages. Shakhtar demanded 25 million euros or they would seek legal action. The case was settled in 2009 and Matuzalém had to pay 12 million euros to his old club.

In 2007 he signed for Real Saragozza but could not avoid their relegation. He only played 14 games due to injury.

In 2008 he joined Lazio on loan with an option to buy. He stayed for four seasons appearing in 93 games with four goals. He won a Coppa Italia 2008-09 and scored Lazio’s first goal in the victorious Super Coppa final against Inter in 2009 in Beijing.

He was also the protagonist of one of the most important Lazio derby wins. The Biancocelesti had not beaten Roma for two and half years and before the match Francesco Totti had made fun of this situation. The Giallorossi had scored early but Lazio equalised in the second half on a penalty that had also seen Simon Kjaer sent off. The Biancocelesti had several opportunities to turn the game around but were very unlucky with posts and chances missed by a whisker. With 30 seconds left in the game, Hernanes passed to Matuzalem who without looking lobbed the ball in the box. It landed perfectly in the path of Miro Klose who put it into the net for the incredible joy of all Laziali worldwide.

In the summer of 2012 Matuzalem arrived five days late for the start of the pre-season training. As punishment he was excluded from the squad and in January sold to Genoa. On February 3, 2013, a nasty and reckless foul on Cristian Brocchi ended the Lazio player’s career and certainly gained him no points with Lazio or the fans. He stayed another year in Liguria before moving to Bologna in 2014 where he contributed to the Rossoblu’s promotion to Serie A. He then went for six months to Verona and another six to Miami FC but played very little. In 2016 he joined Monterosi in Serie D and quit football 2 years later.

He then studied to become a coach.

Matuzalém gave a good contribution to Lazio in his four years, but fans do not really remember him with pleasure.

Lazio Career


Total appearances (goals)

Serie A

Coppa Italia

Europa League

Super Coppa








24 (3)

18 (1)


5 (1)

1 (1)








29 (1)

21 (1)





93 (4)

75 (2)


11 (1)

1 (1)



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