Anthony Joran Martial is a French professional footballer who plays as a forward for the prestigious English Club Manchester United. He is of Guadalupian descent as his parents migrated from the island of Guadeloupe in the South Caribbean Sea to mainland France. Martial’s transfer to Manchester United in 2013 bore the record for the highest fee paid for a teenager ever. He is a devout Catholic who is seen saying a word of prayer every time he steps onto the field. His style of play is described by many of his peers to be very similar to that of legendary French and Arsenal forward Thierry Henry. His speed and technical abilities help him excel both in wide as well as up-front positions on the field. He is known for his knack for breaking through stringent offside traps and defenses with ease. Many of his teammates at United claim that he is the fittest player in the club owing to his grueling fitness routine.
Childhood & Early Life
Anthony Joran Martial was born on 5 December 1995, in Massy, Essonne, France, to Joran Martial and Audrey Martial. He has two brothers both of whom are also footballers. His older brother, Johan, is a defender for Troyes while his other brother Dorian is part of the senior team at Les Ulis.
Martial’s parents made the education of their children their highest priority. As a youth, he was described to be quiet and aloof.
In 2001, Anthony Martial joined the CO Les Ulis football academy in Paris. Legendary French internationals Thierry Henry and Patrice Evra are both alumni of the academy. He also underwent trials for the Manchester City Youth academy at the same age.
In 2009, a 14-year old Martial was scouted out by the Olympique Lyonnais academy. His success at the academy resulted in him getting selected for the French U-17 team that was to participate in the 2012 UEFA European U-17 Championship to be held in Slovenia.
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On 6 December 2012, Anthony Martial made his professional debut for Lyon in a Europa League Group match against Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
He made his Ligue 1 debut on 3 February 2013 against Ajaccio, when he substituted Rachid Ghezzal in the 79th minute. Lyon eventually lost the game 3-1.
He signed a three-year contract with AS Monaco on 30 June 2013 for a fee of €5 million plus bonuses. He made his first appearance for them on 24 November 2013, at the age of 17.
In his second season at AS Monaco, Martial scored nine goals in just 36 Ligue 1 games. He scored his first UEFA Champions League goal on 4 August 2015 in AS Monaco’s 4-0 home victory against BSC Young Boys.
He made his debut for the senior French team on 26 August 2015 in a friendly against Portugal.
On 1 September 2015, Manchester United signed him for a record fee of £36 million on a four-year contract. At the time, this was the highest ever transfer fee paid for a teenager.
Martial scored on his Old Trafford debut on 12 September 2015 in his team’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool.
He made his first start for the French national team on 11 October 2015 in a friendly against Denmark. Martial’s assist helped Olivier Giroud score the first goal in the team's 2-1 victory.
Martial ended the 2015-2016 season as United's top scorer in both the league and overall competitions with 11 goals and 17 goals respectively.
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His exceptional performances in this season for United earned him a place in France’s team for the Euro 2016 tournament.
Anthony Martial got off to a shaky start in the 2016-2017 season under new manager Jose Mourinho. Problems in his personal life were said to be the reason behind his below-par performances.
Awards & Achievements
Martial was the recipient of the 2015 Golden Boy Award for the best under-21 player in Europe.
Martial’s first accolade at United was the ‘PFA Fan’s Player of the Month’ for September 2015. Only a few days later, he won the ‘Goal of the Month’ award for his stunning goal against Liverpool. He also won the ‘Premier League Player of the Month’ for September, making him the third-youngest player ever to receive the honor.
He has won one FA Cup, one English League Cup, one Europa League as well as an English Super Cup at Manchester United.
Personal Life & Legacy
Martial has two daughters with his ex-wife Samantha Helena Jacquelinet. He has been dating reality TV star, Melanie De Cruz since the end of 2016.
Anthony’s father Joran Martial is also his and his brothers’ manager as his wish was to be more involved in his children’s lives.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry (whom Martial is often compared to) is a close friend of his.
Patrice Evra who closely monitored the progress of young Anthony Martial gifted him one of his pairs of football boots when Anthony was just 12.