After 11 years at Paris Saint-Germain, Marco Verratti has signed for Qatari side Al-Arabi SC, with the Italy international set to leave an indelible mark on the capital club’s history.
Born in Pescara, Verratti joined the youth academy of his local team, Delfino Pescara, in 2005. In August 2008, aged just 16, the midfielder made his first-team debut in a Coppa Italia fixture before establishing himself as a regular starter two years later, shortly after his side’s promotion into Serie B. After helping I Delfini to the Italian second-division title in 2012, Verratti took the plunge by joining Paris Saint-Germain.
Nicknamed Petit Hibou (‘Little Owl’), Marco was just 19 years old when he joined the club, but he soon earned himself a special place in the hearts of the supporters, with his exceptional technique and unique playing style quickly making him a Parc des Princes favourite. In his first season with Les Rouge et Bleu, the Italian became a consistent feature of Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XIs, as he made 39 appearances across all competitions, playing in the UEFA Champions League for the first time as well as contributing to the team’s Ligue 1 title win in 2013.
A one-of-a-kind midfielder, Verratti has continued to fill his trophy cabinet over the years, most notably taking home the treble (comprised of the Ligue 1 title, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue) with Paris Saint-Germain in 2015 and 2016. Over ten years on from his arrival in Paris and with 30 trophies under his belt, the Azzurri international has become the most decorated player in the history of both the club and the French top flight. In total, Verratti has won Ligue 1 and the Trophée des Champions nine times as well as the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue six times, and with 416 appearances to his name, he has also become the second-highest appearance maker in the club’s history, just short of Jean-Marc Pilorget’s tally of 435 appearances.
An extraordinary reader of the game as well as an excellent ball winner, Verratti has also shone with his national team since making his debut for them in 2012. In July 2021, he was a part of La Squadra Azzurra’s UEFA EURO 2020 win, and now, aged 30, he boasts a total of 55 appearances for Italy.
“I’ve been very proud to play for Paris Saint-Germain for over a decade, to rub shoulders with so many great players and to win 30 trophies. Paris, the club and its fans will always hold a very special place in my heart. I’ll forever be a Parisian,” Verratti declared.
“Marco will be forever linked to Paris Saint-Germain, playing such a big part in our great history. I will never forget his arrival in 2012 at the age of nineteen. He has always been there for the Club ever since, giving all his heart on the pitch and achieving so many great things with us.”
“I would like to sincerely thank Marco, and his family, on behalf of everyone connected to Paris Saint-Germain, he will always be part of the Club. We wish him all the very best with his new adventure,” declared Nasser Al-Khelaifi, President and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain.