Eric Bertrand Bailly (born 12 April 1994) is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for English club Manchester United.
Born in Bingerville, Bailly joined RCD Espanyol’s youth system in December 2011, aged 17. He only received a work permit in October of the following year, and made his senior debuts in the 2013–14 campaign with the reserves, in Segunda División B.
On 5 October 2014, Bailly made his first-team – and La Liga – debut, coming on as a late substitute in a 2–0 home win against Real Sociedad. He was promoted to the main squad shortly after.
On 29 January 2015, Bailly signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with fellow La Liga team Villarreal for a €5.7 million fee, mainly as a replacement to Arsenal-bound Gabriel Paulista. He made his debut for the Yellow Submarine on 22 February, starting in a 1–0 home win against SD Eibar.
On 19 March, Bailly made his UEFA Europa League debut, starting and being sent off in a 2–1 away loss against Sevilla FC.
On 18 October 2015, Bailly was sent off shortly after the interval in a 2–1 loss to Celta de Vigo at Estadio El Madrigal. He made seven appearances as the team reached the last four of the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League; on 22 October he scored his first career goal and only one for the team, to conclude a 4–0 home group win over Dinamo Minsk.
On 8 June 2016, Bailly joined Premier League side Manchester United for a reported fee of £30 million, signing a four-year contract, with the option of an additional two. He was the first player signed by their new manager José Mourinho.
He made his competitive debut on 7 August in a 2–1 win against Leicester City at Wembley Stadium to win the FA Community Shield, and was named man of the match. He was again named man of the match on his Premier League debut a week later, a 3–1 win at Bournemouth.
He was voted Manchester United’s Player of the Month for August 2016. Talking to MUTV, he said “The Man-of-the-Match awards are something I hadn’t thought about but I got them through the hard work I have put in. I hope to see more of that in the weeks ahead of us.” On 23 October 2016, Bailly was substituted off in the 52nd minute after suffering a serious knee injury during the 4–0 loss at Chelsea.
He made his international debut for the Ivory Coast in 2015 and helped them win that year’s Africa Cup of Nations.