Memphis Depay (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɛmfɪs dəˈpɑi]; born 13 February 1994), also known simply as Memphis, is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish La Liga club Barcelona and the Netherlands national team.
Depay with Lyon in 2017
|Full name||Memphis Depay|
|Date of birth||13 February 1994|
|Place of birth||Moordrecht, Netherlands|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:05, 23 May 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18:49, 27 June 2021 (UTC)
Depay began his professional career with PSV Eindhoven, where, under the influence of manager Phillip Cocu, he became an integral part of the team, scoring 50 goals in 124 games across all competitions. During the 2014–15 season, he was the Eredivisie's top scorer with 22 goals in 30 games, and helped the team win the Eredivisie title for the first time since 2008. He also won the Dutch Footballer of the Year for his performances during the season. His performances also led him to be named the "Best Young Player" in the world in 2015 by France Football. Depay joined English side Manchester United in June 2015 for a reported fee of £25 million. After a disappointing spell there, he joined French club Lyon in January 2017.
A product of the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) institution, Depay has represented the national team at every professional level from early developmental stages under the tutelage of iconic Dutch coaches and players alike. He was part of the Netherlands Under-17 team which won the 2011 European Championship. He made his senior debut in 2013 and the following year was part of their squad that came third at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he made his breakthrough performances on the international stage. He also took part in UEFA Euro 2020.
Born in Moordrecht, Depay impressed football scouts from Sparta Rotterdam at the age of eight on the fields of his boyhood club vv Moordrecht. It took only three seasons before scouts from Sparta snatched Depay from his local club. Club chairman Ton Redegeld said, "Memphis was as a young player already complete. He was two-footed and strong. If we won 7–0, he scored five times and would assist two times". When he turned 12, Depay caught the eye of clubs such as Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord. His grandfather, despite being an Ajax fan himself, advised Depay to move to PSV.
In 2011, Depay was on trial for PSV's first team while playing for Jong PSV, the club's reserve team. He made his official debut on 21 September 2011 in a KNVB Cup second round match against amateur side VVSB, opening an 8–0 away win. His first Eredivisie match was 26 February 2012, when PSV beat rivals Feyenoord 3–2 at the Philips Stadion, coming on in added time for Zakaria Labyad. On 18 March, six minutes after replacing Dries Mertens, he scored his first league goal to confirm a 5–1 win over Heerenveen. He made a total of eight league appearances in his first season, all as a substitute, scoring three goals.
Depay featured in the 2012 KNVB Cup Final on 8 April, playing the final four minutes of the 3–0 win over Heracles in place of Mertens at De Kuip in Rotterdam under interim coach Phillip Cocu. On 29 June 2012, Depay signed his first professional contract with PSV, tying himself to the Boeren until 2017.
On 5 August, Depay featured in the 2012 Johan Cruyff Shield at the Amsterdam Arena, replacing Luciano Narsingh for the final six minutes as PSV defeated league champions Ajax 4–2. He made 20 Eredivisie appearances in his second season, scoring twice, including two starts. The first of these was on 2 March 2013 in a 2–0 home win over VVV-Venlo, scoring after three minutes after being set up by fellow teenager Jürgen Locadia. PSV again reached the cup final, losing 1–2 to AZ on 9 May, with Depay playing five minutes in place of Mertens.
2013–14: Breakthrough season
Depay scored his first goal in European football on 30 July 2013, when he drifted in from the left and then smashed the ball into the top corner past goalkeeper Sammy Bossut as PSV defeated Zulte Waregem 2–0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie. PSV failed to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, but in its second group stage match in the Europa League, Depay scored again, this time curling the ball into the net from outside the area, as the Dutch side defeated Chornomorets Odesa 2–0 on 3 October.
Depay provided the assist for Tim Matavž's goal against Roda JC on 27 October 2013, but picked up two second-half yellow cards and was sent off for the first time in his professional career as PSV slumped to a 2–1 defeat. On 15 December, Depay helped PSV to just their second win in 13 matches, scoring twice in a 5–1 win over Utrecht. Depay helped PSV rack up their eighth win a row on 23 March 2014, a 3–1 win over Roda JC, having a hand in Bryan Ruiz's game-winning goal despite wearing a protective mask to cover a bruised eye socket suffered in a challenge with Renato Ibarra of Vitesse on 15 March.
Depay helped PSV secure a place in European competition for the 41st consecutive year, edging the ball past goalkeeper Jelle ten Rouwelaar to score their first in a 2–0 win against NAC Breda; the final day win ensured that the club would finish fourth in the Eredivisie table.
2014–15: Top scorer and league title
After a successful showing at the 2014 World Cup, Depay was linked to a number of clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Amid the speculation surrounding his future, he started the season for PSV in impressive fashion. Depay came off the bench to score one goal and deliver one assist in the return game of the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie between PSV and SKN St. Pölten on 7 August, as his team progressed to the play-off round after a 3–2 away win, giving them a 4–2 aggregate win over the Austrians. In the opening game of the Eredivisie season three days later, Depay played a major part in PSV's 3–1 away win against promoted side Willem II by scoring two goals. He improved on this performance in the following game, scoring two free-kicks and delivering the assist for Georginio Wijnaldum's goal in a convincing 6–1 home win against NAC Breda. On 28 August, in the Europa League play-off second leg away in Belarus, he scored two late goals against Shakhtyor Soligorsk as PSV won 3–0 on aggregate to reach the group stage. Depay then suffered a groin injury during PSV's 3–1 defeat at PEC Zwolle on 13 September and he was substituted in the 18th minute.
On 18 April 2015, Depay scored PSV's second goal with a free-kick from 35 yards out in a 4–1 home win over Heerenveen to give PSV its 22nd Eredivisie title, its first since 2008. Later that month, the club confirmed that they had received interest from others wishing to sign him, including Manchester United. He scored his last home goal for PSV in a 2–0 win against Heracles on 10 May. As he was substituted off, the stadium was filled with a deafening cheer from the crowd around him and he was met with numerous congratulations from his teammates. He finished the season as the league's top scorer with 22 goals, two ahead of runner-up and teammate Luuk de Jong.
Transfer and pre-season
Depay had originally been the subject of several bids by English side Arsenal, with club manager Arsène Wenger eventually going on to turn down a move for him altogether. On 7 May 2015, PSV confirmed that they had agreed a deal with Manchester United over Depay's transfer, subject to a medical. United manager Louis van Gaal said that he was "forced" into signing him early, due to interest from Paris Saint-Germain. Despite insistence from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers that he had never been after Depay, PSV director Marcel Brands had stated that he had conversations with Liverpool over a possible signing. On 12 June 2015, United confirmed the signing of Depay, for a reported fee of £25 million on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further year. He was unveiled as a Manchester United player at a press conference on 10 July 2015. This made him the fourth player to join United from PSV after Jaap Stam, Park Ji-sung and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Depay made his United debut in a pre-season friendly against Club América in Seattle on 17 July, contesting the first half as United fielded a different 11 players for each 45 minutes. He scored his first goal for the club four days later during a 3–1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. At his own request, Depay was given the iconic number 7 shirt – previously worn by club legends such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo – after the departure of Ángel Di María.
Depay made his Premier League debut on 8 August as the season opened with a 1–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford. He was substituted after 68 minutes for Ander Herrera, and Van Gaal said after the match that Depay was playing in too eager a manner. On 18 August, Depay scored his first two goals for Manchester United, and assisted Maroune Fellaini's final goal, in a 3–1 home victory over Club Brugge in the first leg of the Champions League play-offs. In the second leg, Depay provided the assist for the first of Wayne Rooney's three goals. He scored again on 15 September in the first game of the competition's group stage, in an eventual 2–1 loss at his former team PSV. Depay was labelled as United's "European Danger Man" following his early success in the Champions League. Depay scored his first Premier League goal on 26 September, opening a 3–0 home win over Sunderland, a victory that put United on top of the league for the first time in 110 weeks.
Following his early struggles in the Premier League, Depay told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, "There are a lot of games in Manchester. There are very few rest days and on training days you are mainly concerned with recovering. It's heavy, two games a week, always at a high level, and my body has to get used to that." These claims were dismissed by assistant manager and former United player Ryan Giggs, who blamed Depay's flashy lifestyle for his poor form. Regarding his form, Van Gaal warned Depay of not emulating Ángel Di María, who suffered a similar setback after joining United, and left prior to Depay's arrival. Depay was later dropped to the bench, along with club and national teammate Daley Blind, during United's 3–0 win over Everton on 17 October 2015, following the Netherlands' failure to qualify for UEFA Euro 2016. Despite this, Depay was named in the 59-man longlist for the FIFA Ballon d'Or, but did not make the shortlist.
After being dropped in four consecutive matches, Depay got his first start as a second striker due to Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney's unavailability, and seized the opportunity with his second league goal in a 2–1 away win over Watford at Vicarage Road. He scored an 11th-minute opener when he volleyed in Ander Herrera's cross with his left foot. His performance earned Depay praise from van Gaal, as well as his first Premier League Man of the Match honor. In a January 2016 match against Chelsea, Depay came on as a late substitute. Three minutes after coming on, Depay gave away the ball with a misplaced pass deep in Chelsea territory, then failed to track back properly as Chelsea scored from the counterattack in stoppage time to earn a draw.
Depay followed this with a goal each in United's two Europa League matches against Midtjylland in February. He scored United's solitary goal in 1–2 loss in the away leg then scored the final goal in a 5–1 win at home, allowing United to win 6–3 on aggregate. He also nutmegged Midtjylland defender André Rømer with a rabona in the home leg. Depay was lauded for his performance in the home leg, where he not only scored but also set up the first goal, earned his side two penalties and delivered a cross that led to an own goal. Rømer later said, "I've never been so close to crying after a match as I was today. Memphis is the best player I have ever faced. He is the best. He can do anything." Manager Louis van Gaal hailed the match as a "turning point" for Depay.
Depay made only four appearances (all of them as a substitute) and had a total playing time of just 20 minutes in the Premier League during the 2016–17 season. He only started one match in the 2016–17 season – the EFL Cup third round 3–1 away win over League One club Northampton Town on 21 September 2016 – and was substituted after playing 55 minutes of that match. After that match against Northampton Town, he only had 46 minutes of total playing time in competitive matches for Manchester United during the remainder of the 2016–17 season. Depay's last competitive match for Manchester United was on 24 November 2016 when he played the final eight minutes of a 4–0 Europa League home victory against Feyenoord.
On 20 January 2017, Depay signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with French club Olympique Lyonnais which would tie him to the French club until the summer of 2021. This transfer is known as the first 'laptop transfer' in football as Depay chose his next destination with help from computer modelling by data intelligence company SciSports. The initial transfer fee was estimated to be £16–17 million, potentially rising to £22 million with the add-ons including Lyon qualifying for the UEFA Champions League and Depay earning a new contract. The terms of the deal also included buy-back and sell-on clauses for Manchester United.
On 22 January 2017, Depay made his competitive debut for Lyon by coming on as substitute for Mathieu Valbuena in the 79th minute in a home Ligue 1 match against Olympique de Marseille, which Lyon won 3–1. Six days later, he made his first competitive start for Lyon in a home Ligue 1 match against Lille OSC, almost scored when he smashed a shot just over the bar in the ninth minute and was substituted in the 68th minute by Maxwel Cornet; Lyon lost the match 2–1.
On 12 March 2017 in a game against Toulouse, Depay scored a goal from nearly the halfway line. Depay later said it was "the goal of my life", although he also distanced himself from comparisons to Beckham's famous halfway line goal against Wimbledon in 1996.
On 5 November 2019, Depay scored his fourth goal in as many games for Lyon against Benfica in a 3–1 win in the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League. On 10 December, he scored an equaliser against RB Leipzig in a 2–2 draw to help Lyon to qualify to the knockout phase, hence he scored his 5th goal in 5 consecutive matches in the competition.
On 15 December, Depay tore his anterior cruciate ligament while playing against Rennes in Ligue 1, ending a successful season during which he had scored nine goals in 12 league starts for Lyon. He returned from his injury to start for Lyon in the French League Cup final against Paris Saint-Germain on 31 July 2020. On 7 August 2020, Depay scored in his sixth consecutive Champions League match, converting a penalty in a 2–1 loss to Juventus in the second leg of their round of 16 tie; he is only the second Dutch player to score in six straight Champions League games, following fellow former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. The tie finished 2–2 on aggregate, but Lyon progressed on the away goals rule. Lyon eventually reached the semi-finals for the second time in their history after 2010.
Depay was a member of the Netherlands under-17 team which won the 2011 European Championship in Serbia. In the final against Germany in Novi Sad, he scored the goal which put the Netherlands ahead as they came from behind to defeat their rivals 5–2. Later that year, he participated in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in Mexico.
Depay made his international debut on 15 October 2013, coming on for Jeremain Lens in the last minute of a 2–0 away win against Turkey at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in World Cup qualification.
Depay was selected by Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal in the final 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He came on as a substitute before the half-time whistle in the second group match against Australia to replace defender Bruno Martins Indi, who had sustained a head injury, and in the 68th minute he scored the winning goal, a swerving effort from outside the box. He also set up Robin van Persie's equaliser. He became the youngest Dutchman to score a goal at the World Cup, at the age of 20 years and four months. He came on as a substitute again in the final group match against Chile on 23 June in São Paulo and scored the second goal for the Dutch, tapping in an Arjen Robben cross, as they clinched first place with a 2–0 victory.
Depay's first goal since the World Cup came in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena on 5 June 2015, deflecting Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's shot to put the Netherlands 3–1 up against the United States, although the team eventually lost 4–3. In October of that year, he was involved in a fight with teammate Robin van Persie at an international training camp; manager Danny Blind stated to the media, "There are sometimes situations in training where players think different. Then you talk about it. That's what happened and then it's over." The following month, both Depay and Van Persie were dropped from the Dutch squad for friendlies against Wales and Germany, with Blind stating of Depay, "In football you must function in a team. He doesn't always do that. That's something he has to learn."
Style of play
Early in his career, a PSV coach noted Depay as "very angry", and he now uses a life coach to aid his mentality. In April 2015, The Daily Telegraph described Depay as "a fearsome striker of the ball with his right foot but is usually used as an inverted left winger who cuts onto his right foot. A pacey and tricky player, his direct running makes him a difficult opponent for defenders". However, they criticised him as "a ball-hog", pointing out his high rate of shots in comparison to a low rate of assists. Depay is also known for his free-kick ability. During the 2014–15 season, he was statistically the best set-piece taker in the whole of Europe, as he scored 7 times in 33 attempts, the most in all European leagues and the second-best accuracy.
Former Dutch international and Dutch national team manager Ronald Koeman regards Depay as "a great talent", but says that he must continue his personal development due to the physicality and mental strength needed in the Premier League. Former Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth defender Arjan de Zeeuw stated about Depay, "People regard him as a little bit arrogant, a little bit cocky, but I think he is a very good player, a very promising player, a very strong, very quick player and he's got some skill."
Depay has been compared to former United player Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow international Arjen Robben. Thijs Slegers said about the comparisons, "Memphis is a little bit like Cristiano; they have similar qualities, although there are of course areas where Memphis is inferior. However, his determination to be the best is where I see the real similarity with Cristiano." Like Ronaldo, Depay combines technical expertise with pure physical strength.
Depay began pursuing a hip-hop career in June 2017 when he released his Los Angeles-inspired freestyle, "LA Vibes". The music video featured Quincy Promes, Depay's teammate at the Netherlands national team. The song's music video earned around 150,000 views within hours of being uploaded to YouTube. In December 2017, Depay released his freestyle track "Kings & Queens". On 3 October 2018, he collaborated with musical artists Winne and Nana Fofie and producer Rass King for his Ghana-inspired single, "AKWAABA", and also released his third freestyle, "Porto Cervo (Interlude)", with Winne. Depay released his fourth freestyle, "5-mill" in response to his Instagram account reaching 5 million followers. Critics of the freestyle claimed that Depay's public image was hampered through his cigar-smoking and his careless attitude. In December 2018, he released his second single, "No Love", over his cancelled engagement with model Lori Harvey. The song is multilingual, switching back and forth between English and Dutch. In July 2019, Depay released "Fall Back". On 1 November 2019, Broederliefde released an album, Broeders, which featured Depay on the song "Lange Jas". Depay recently announced his new song "For a Week" on his Instagram. On 17 April 2020, Memphis released "Dubai Freestyle". In September 2020, Memphis released his new song "2 Corinthians 5:7". On 27 November 2020, Memphis released his debut album Heavy Stepper.
Depay was born in 1994 to a Ghanaian father, Dennis Depay, and a Dutch mother, Cora Schensema, in the small South Holland village of Moordrecht. It was not long, however, before the relationship between the two parents began to fall apart and when Depay was four, his father walked out on the family. Depay has numerous tattoos, including one on his left arm that is a tribute to his grandfather, who died on the day before he turned 15. When he scored against Australia in the 2014 World Cup, he kissed this tattoo and pointed to the sky, dedicating his goal to his late grandfather a moment which he then in 2016 commemorated with a tattoo on his left torso depicting Christ the Redeemer and the date 18.06.14, referring to his first international goal for the Netherlands. He also has a tattoo on the inside of his lip stating succesvol which is Dutch for 'successful' and also has the words 'dream chaser' emblazoned on his upper torso.
In June 2017, it was announced on social media that Depay was engaged to Lori Harvey, the youngest daughter of American television personality Steve Harvey. Since then, they have ended their engagement and relationship.
In April 2020, Depay was criticised by several animal rights organisations for posting pictures of himself with a liger cub while on vacation in Dubai. Depay responded by stating that "ligers are not even wild animals".
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Manchester United||2015–16||Premier League||29||2||3||0||2||0||11||5||—||45||7|
- Appearances in UEFA Europa League
- Appearance in Johan Cruyff Shield
- Four appearances and one goal in UEFA Champions League, six appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
- Eight appearances and three goals in UEFA Champions League, five appearances and two goals in UEFA Europa League
- Appearances in UEFA Champions League
- As of match played 21 June 2021. Netherlands score listed first, score column indicates score after each Depay goal.
|1||18 June 2014||Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, Brazil||7||Australia||3–2||3–2||2014 FIFA World Cup|
|2||23 June 2014||Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, Brazil||8||Chile||2–0||2–0|
|3||5 June 2015||Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||16||United States||3–1||3–4||Friendly|
|4||13 November 2016||Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg||27||Luxembourg||2–1||3–1||2018 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|6||7 October 2017||Borisov Arena, Borisov, Belarus||32||Belarus||3–1||3–1|
|7||9 November 2017||Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen, Scotland||33||Scotland||1–0||1–0||Friendly|
|8||14 November 2017||Arena Națională, Bucharest, Romania||34||Romania||1–0||3–0|
|9||26 March 2018||Stade de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland||36||Portugal||1–0||3–0|
|10||6 September 2018||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||39||Peru||1–1||2–1|
|12||13 October 2018||41||Germany||2–0||3–0||2018–19 UEFA Nations League A|
|13||16 November 2018||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||42||France||2–0||2–0|
|14||21 March 2019||45||Belarus||1–0||4–0||UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying|
|16||24 March 2019||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||46||Germany||2–2||2–3|
|17||9 September 2019||A. Le Coq Arena, Tallinn, Estonia||50||Estonia||3–0||4–0|
|18||10 October 2019||De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands||51||Northern Ireland||1–1||3–1|
|20||15 November 2020||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||58||Bosnia and Herzegovina||3–0||3–1||2020–21 UEFA Nations League A|
|21||18 November 2020||Silesian Stadium, Chorzów, Poland||59||Poland||1–1||2–1|
|22||30 March 2021||Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar||62||Gibraltar||3–0||7–0||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
|24||2 June 2021||Estádio Algarve, Faro/Loulé, Portugal||63||Scotland||1–1||2–2||Friendly|
|26||6 June 2021||De Grolsch Veste, Enschede, Netherlands||64||Georgia||1–0||3–0|
|27||17 June 2021||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands||66||Austria||1–0||2–0||UEFA Euro 2020|
|28||21 June 2021||67||North Macedonia||1–0||3–0|
- Eredivisie: 2014–15
- KNVB Cup: 2011–12
- Johan Cruyff Shield: 2012
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