David de Gea born 7 November 1990 is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for English club Manchester United and the Spain national team. He has been hailed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Born in Madrid, De Gea began his career aged 13 with Atlético Madrid and rose through the academy system at the club before making his senior debut in 2009.
After being made Atlético's first-choice goalkeeper, he helped the team win both the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup in 2010. His performances attracted the attention of Manchester United, whom he joined in June 2011 for £17.8 million, a British record for a goalkeeper.
Since joining United, De Gea has made over 200 appearances and won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a League Cup and three Community Shields. For three consecutive seasons from 2013–14 to 2015–16, he was elected as United's Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, the first player in the award's history to win on three successive occasions.
De Gea was the captain for the Spain under-21 national side that won the European Championship in 2011 and 2013, and also competed in the 2012 Olympics. He made his debut for the senior team in 2014 and was selected for that year's World Cup, and has been tipped by many as the successor to Iker Casillas as Spain's long-term goalkeeper.
De Gea joined Atlético Madrid at the age of 13 when his then-coach Juan Luis Martín lied to the club that Rayo Vallecano were set to sign him. A few days later, Diego Díaz Garrido scouted De Gea and signed him immediately. He eventually made his way up through the youth ranks at the club before signing his first professional contract in 2008, aged 17, contracting him to Atlético until 2011.He spent his second season for Atlético Madrid B in Segunda División B.
In the summer of 2009, De Gea was approached by Numancia and English team Queens Park Rangers with regards to a loan move, with Atlético sporting director Jesús García Pitarch pushing for him to move to Numancia. De Gea rejected the approach, and was punished by being forced to train by himself.Weeks later, Atlético manager Abel Resino noticed De Gea training alone and invited him to train with the first team, where he was rated as the third-choice goalkeeper. The same summer, Atlético rejected an offer from English team Wigan Athletic for a permanent transfer for De Gea.
With first-choice goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo away on international duty at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup, De Gea was called up to the senior side as cover for Roberto. He made his debut for the Atlético first-team at the age of 18 on 30 September 2009, coming on as a substitute after Roberto was injured after 27 minutes of Atlético's UEFA Champions League Group Stage match away to Porto ; De Gea conceded two late goals as Atlético lost 2–0. Roberto's injury meant that De Gea was given his La Liga debut three days later, at home to Real Zaragoza; he gave away a penalty kick in the 19th minute, but immediately redeemed himself by saving Marko Babić's attempt in an eventual 2–1 win. He described starting at the Vicente Calderón Stadium as a "dream since childhood".
In January 2010, De Gea was touted as a possible replacement for Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who was set to retire in 2011. Days later, however, he signed a new contract which would keep him with Atlético until 2013.
Following his "faultless" performance in the Madrid Derby on 7 November, De Gea was hailed as the heir apparent to Real Madrid's goalkeeper Iker Casillas for Spain, a sentiment Casillas agreed with, saying, "In Spain we are lucky to have very good goalkeepers and De Gea soon be fighting my place in the team," while Spain manager Vicente del Bosque described De Gea as "the future of the team".
He remained the undisputed starting goalkeeper for the remainder of the season, going on to play in every La Liga game for the team en route to a seventh-place finish.During his time with Atlético Madrid, De Gea shared a locker with Cléber Santana, who died aboard LaMia Flight 2933 on the way to the first-leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana Finals.
In 2010–11 season, speculation regarding how Manchester United would replace their retiring goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was widespread, and much attention focused on De Gea as United's key target.After Gary Neville's testimonial against Juventus on 24 May, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claimed that a deal had been done to bring De Gea to Old Trafford, but this was later denied by the player's representatives and the Atlético management, with De Gea stating that he would not consider his future until after the UEFA Under-21 Championship.
Following Spain's victory in the tournament, De Gea was spotted in Manchester undergoing a medical with United on 27 June. The next day, he reported that United were making him a contract offer, and the transfer was confirmed on 29 June for a British record fee for a goalkeeper of approximately £17.8 million.Growing up, De Gea had admired United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, and was often compared to Van der Sar, furthered by being dubbed "Van der Gea".
De Gea made his first appearance for Manchester United in a 3–1 friendly win over Chicago Fire on 23 July 2011. He made his competitive debut for United against Manchester City in the Community Shield on 7 August. Despite being caught out in the first-half by a header from Joleon Lescott and a long-range Edin Džeko strike that put City into a 2–0 lead, United rallied in the second half and won 3–2. De Gea made his league debut for Manchester United against West Bromwich Albion a week later, where he received criticism for failing to save Shane Long's goal during a 2–1 United victory, which Ferguson described as "a learning process".
De Gea kept his first clean sheet for United on his Old Trafford debut in the following fixture, a 3–0 victory against Tottenham Hotspur. In the following game, six days later, De Gea saved a penalty from Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, which would have cancelled out United's 1–0 lead. He made further saves to deny Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin in United's 8–2 victory. Teammate Wayne Rooney backed De Gea to succeed at United and hailed him as a "strong character".
After a difficult first season in England, De Gea said, "There have been doubts in the first season but I always had faith in my ability. The pressure at an elite club like United is huge but Ferguson just told me to do what I did at Atlético. You have to be as strong when things go wrong but I don't get nervous. Mistakes are normal; everyone makes them." His goalkeeping rival Lindegaard, however, promised to fight for the place he lost via injury, saying, "I want the number one spot because I am the best. I am sure he is a bit in front right now because he did well last season, so I need to take every chance I get to prove myself worthy of the number one spot." De Gea later admitted that he thought about leaving after the first season.
Due to his involvement in the 2012 Olympics, De Gea missed Manchester United's pre-season tour, but nevertheless returned to the starting line-up for the opening game of the season against Everton. Despite some "outstanding" saves from De Gea, United lost 1–0. In the next game, a 3–2 win at home to Fulham, he made some noteworthy saves from Mladen Petrić, Moussa Dembélé and Bryan Ruiz. In attempting to claim a cross from Matthew Briggs, however, a misunderstanding with Nemanja Vidić led to the Serbian defender putting the ball in his own net for Fulham's second goal.
De Gea's form throughout the season was recognised by his peers, culminating in being voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. He ended the season with his first Premier League winner's medal with United, making 28 appearances and keeping 11 clean sheets, as the team topped the Premier League table by 11 points. This placed him joint-fifth in the race for the Premier League Golden Glove.
De Gea's season began with a clean sheet in the 2–0 win over Wigan in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. On 5 October 2013, De Gea's save to deny Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini during a 2–1 away win was described by former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel as one of the best saves ever seen in the Premier League. Manager David Moyes agreed with Schmeichel's assessment,describing the save was a "turning point" in a game in which they were losing 1–0 at the time, and said De Gea "is improving all the time".
On 1 December, De Gea made his 100th appearance for Manchester United in a 2–2 draw against Tottenham. He received the backing of teammate Darren Fletcher, when, in the League Cup semi-final second leg against Sunderland on 22 January 2014,De Gea was deemed to be at fault when he let a weak Phil Bardsley shot past him deep into extra time a Javier Hernández goal soon after left the aggregate score at 3–3, resulting in a penalty shoot-out, where De Gea's penalty saves from Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson were not enough to help United advance, losing 2–1.
On 19 March, whilst playing against Olympiacos in the first knockout stage of the Champions League as United came from 2–0 down to win 3–2 on aggregate, De Gea made a crucial double-save before half-time which was said to have defied "all known laws of physics and physiology" in a performance described as "magnificent".Teammate Phil Jones claimed that "he's up there with the best goalkeepers in the world"De Gea's performances throughout the season saw him named as both the club's Players' Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year.
De Gea helped United secure back-to-back victories for the first time under their new manager Louis van Gaal in a home victory against Everton on 5 October 2014. During the match, De Gea made three important saves, including one penalty from Leighton Baines, to help United secure a 2–1 win in which he was voted by Manchester United fans as man of the match. He became the first goalkeeper to stop a penalty from Baines, who had previously converted all of his 14 Premier League penalties.
After several vital stops against Everton, West Brom and Chelsea, he was named Manchester United's Player of the Month for October. On 14 December, De Gea was awarded the man of the match for his "outstanding" performance against Liverpool, making eight saves in a 3–0 victory, a performance rated as the best of the Premier League season. He was hailed by Van Gaal as "unbelievable" for his performances, and was called the "saving grace" for being the one constant in the team throughout the season. Amid rumours of a departure, he said he was "proud" to play for United, and was prompted by Peter Schmeichel and Gary Neville to sign a new contract with the club.
At the end of the season, De Gea was shortlisted for the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year, before losing out to Eden Hazard and Harry Kane respectively. On 26 April 2015, De Gea was named in the PFA Team of the Year as its goalkeeper and its only Manchester United player. He also won both Fans' Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards for the second consecutive season. His save against Everton was voted as Premier League Save of the Season by Match of the Day, the second consecutive year he won the award.
On 7 August 2015, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed that De Gea would not be considered for selection for United's Premier League opener against Tottenham the following day, due to the uncertainty surrounding his future. On 13 August, Van Gaal revealed that De Gea had requested to goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek that he be left out of the side. De Gea claimed he never expressed a desire not to play, but trained with the reserves soon after. On 31 August, after a summer of speculation, an agreement for a transfer was reached between Manchester United and Real Madrid worth £29 million, including the part-exchange of fellow goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The deal, however, collapsed due to paperwork not being submitted before the transfer window in Spain closed. After the transfer window closed, Spanish head coach Vicente del Bosque admitted that it would be difficult for him to select De Gea in Spain's European Championship squad if Manchester United continued not to select him.On 11 September, De Gea signed a new four-year deal with Manchester United, with an option to extend it for a further year. Twelve days later, in the third round of the League Cup, De Gea captained Manchester United for the first time, wearing the armband for the final nine minutes of their win over Ipswich Town.
In April 2016, while leading the race for the Golden Glove with 14 clean sheets, De Gea was the sole Manchester United playernamed in the PFA Team of the Year. On 23 April, in a 2–1 win over Everton in the FA Cup semi-finals, he saved a penalty from Romelu Lukaku.In May 2016, De Gea became the first player ever to win Manchester United's Player of the Year for a third consecutive season. During the same month, he also won BBC Match of the Day Save of the Season for the third consecutive year,for his save against Watford on 21 November 2015.In the last league game of the season, a 3–1 win over AFC Bournemouth, De Gea was denied the chance to share the Premier League Golden Glove with Arsenal's Petr Čech due to a stoppage-time own goal by Chris Smalling.
Under new Manchester United manager José Mourinho, De Gea made his first appearance of the season in FA Community Shield against Premier League winners Leicester City. The match ended in a 2–1 victory for United.
One of the biggest stories in world football during the month of December has been the impressive form of Manchester United. Louis van Gaal's side, who some cast off as a contender for a UEFA Champions League position in September, are currently in the middle of a nine-match unbeaten run. In six games during the busy month, the Red Devils have conceded on just five occasions.
Most of the success in defense can be accredited to the play of David de Gea, who we have chosen as the biggest star in world football for December.De Gea's most impressive performance came in front of the Old Trafford faithful against rivals Liverpool on December 14, as he totaled eight saves. The Spanish netminder wasn't just strong during one brief spell in the 3-0 victory, he was tremendous from start to finish against Liverpool's dangerous attack.
He also created a ton of momentum for his side throughout one of the Premier League's marquee clashes. In the 12th minute, De Gea denied Raheem Sterling from close range. Less than a minute later, United used the save as a catalyst to create Wayne Rooney's opener. As the game progressed, the play of the 'keeper improved. Steven Gerrard, Mario Balotelli and Sterling all tried to put a goal past the United No. 1, but none of the players had any success in doing so. United earned a comfortable three-goal lead through Robin van Persie in the 71st minute, but if Brendan Rodgers' side had scored once, a spirited comeback may have been in the cards.
Thanks to De Gea's two second-half saves from Balotelli,United were able to hold onto a critical clean sheet. Not all of De Gea's goalkeeping heroics came in matches in which he had a big cushion to lay back on. In United's 2-1 win over Stoke on December 2, the Spaniard was forced to make a last-minute save from Mame Biram Diouf to preserve the result. If Diouf had netted a late equalizer on the second day of the final month of 2014, we could be talking about a different compilation of United results in Van Gaal's fifth month in charge. Following the win over Stoke, the Red Devils defeated Southampton and Liverpool before drawing with Aston Villa, 1-1, at Villa Park. In the first two games of the festive period,United have earned four points through a win over Newcastle and a road draw with Spurs at White Hart Lane Sunday.
With the back line still a work in progress, De Gea has stood on his head to hand United a string of impressive results in December. Over the six-game stretch in the past month, De Gea has made a total of 23 saves. The eight against Liverpool were the most saves made by the Spaniard, and he made at least three denials on four other occasions. His two-save performance against Stoke was the lone outlier.
De Gea hasn't been the only standout star in the United lineup this month, as Wayne Rooney has contributed two goals and two assists during the same stretch of matches. While Rooney has a legitimate argument to be named as December's top player, De Gea has made a bigger impact on the squad.On the blue half of Manchester, David Silva is in terrific form, with four goals in his last three matches. But he only came on as a star producer after his two-goal outing against Crystal Palace on December 20.
Just like every month of 2014, Cristiano Ronaldo presented a strong case for this award as well. But his candidacy is hampered a bit by the fact that we expect him to score two or three goals per game for on-fire Real Madrid. One defensive-minded field player who also deserves a mention in this conversation is Chelsea's Nemanja Matic. In the back part of the midfield, Matic has been an absolute machine for the Premier League leaders. We could go on about a few other contenders for this honor. But after comparing December resumes, De Gea is the one player who has worked wonders for his team in the biggest time of need.
Without De Gea's terrific showings in goal over the last month, we could be having more urgent discussions about the sustainability of United's defense. With the 24-year-old Spaniard in net, Manchester United have been able to silence the critics and earn a solid grasp on third place in the Premier League, which is something we did not expect out of this side two months ago.
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