Mattia De Sciglio is an experienced Italian international fullback who joined Olympique Lyonnais on loan from Juventus for the 2020-21 season. He made his Lyon debut as a 73rd minute substitute in the 3-2 away win at Strasbourg on the 18th of October 2020.
He was brought in just before the summer transfer window closed in order to provide cover for Leo Dubois at right-back because Lyon had released their only other senior right-backs, Rafael and Kenny Tete. De Sciglio’s versatility means that he can also fill in at left-back when required and even do a useful job in the centre of defence.
This adaptability makes him an ideal addition to the Lyon squad for the season, as they parted company with several other defenders over the summer to leave themselves looking quite short in that department. De Sciglio will be able to deputise for anyone across the back line when they fall victim to injuries and suspensions.
At twenty-eight years of age, De Sciglio should be at or approaching his peak as a defender, but his career appears to have stalled somewhat over the past year at Juventus. He only made six starts for them in Serie A last season, plus two each in the Coppa Italia and Champions League and hasn’t played a full ninety minutes in a competitive match since the fifteenth of December 2019 against Udinese.
In fact, he has never really managed to recapture the heights of his first full season as a professional at AC Milan back in 2012-13 when he burst onto the scene as a promising twenty year old. He made 33 appearances in all competitions that season, including 25 starts in Serie A and was selected for the Serie A team of the year.
He also made the jump up from the Italian Under-21 team to the full national squad during that season, making his debut in a friendly against Brazil that finished 2-2 in Geneva in March 2013. By the end of the summer he had accumulated eight caps for his country, including four at the Confederations Cup in Brazil, where Italy finished third.
That success all came rather suddenly for the locally born lad, who had joined AC Milan aged ten and had only made five first team appearances (three starts) prior to that campaign. Unfortunately, his 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons were blighted by injury which meant that he was unable to reproduce the form he had shown in his campaign and he only managed to feature in about half of Milan’s matches. However, he did still make the Azzurri squad for the 2014 World Cup.
De Sciglio’s next two seasons at Milan under the management of Siniša Mihajlović and then Vincenzo Montella were a lot more consistent and he once again featured in the majority of their fixtures, as well as in Euro 2016 for Italy. His return to form prompted Juventus to pay €12 million for his services in July 2017.
He enjoyed a trophy laden three seasons in Turin, winning Serie A each time, plus a Coppa Italia and Italian Super Cup. However, he was never quite able to nail down a first choice spot in Juventus’ star-studded squad, playing under a third of their league games in his first and third seasons there, and just over half of them in his second, and most consistent, campaign for the Old Lady.
Despite his lack of regular first team action during several periods of his career, De Sciglio has consistently remained a part of the national team squad and has racked up 39 caps to his name, appearing at least once for them in every year since his debut, apart from this year so far. That run could be about to come to an end as it looks unlikely that he’ll be recalled before the end of 2020 unless he gets an immediate run of games at Lyon or Italy suffer a sudden injury crisis.
It remains to be seen whether he can force his way into the first team at Lyon or if he will be regarded as a squad player there too, as is often the curse of the versatile utility man. One certainty is that he’s unlikely to be troubling the Ligue 1 goalkeepers too often. He has just the one goal to his name in well over 200 career appearances. His solitary strike came in November 2017 for Juventus in the 60th minute of a 3-0 Serie A victory over Crotone.