Marco Verratti (born 5 November 1992) is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for French club Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1 and the Italian national football team.
A quick, creative, agile, and technically gifted central midfield playmaker, with notable dribbling skills and close ball control, Verratti is known for his confidence on the ball and ability to retain possession in tight spaces when under pressure, due to his low centre of gravity and resulting balance. His excellent vision and range of passing enable him to create chances for team-mates with accurate long passes, or control the tempo of his team’s play in midfield through precise, short exchanges.
Verratti made his first team debut in the 2008–09 season at the age of 16. In the 2009–10 season, he appeared more regularly for Pescara, and since then became a key player in the first team. His performances generated national media coverage as a potential star of the future and Italian international.
With Zdeněk Zeman as manager, Verratti excelled as a deep-lying playmaker in a Pescara team which won the 2011–12 Serie B title playing “the best football in Italy”, earning promotion to Serie A the following season. After helping Pescara to promotion to Serie A, Verratti received the 2012 Bravo Award for the best player under the age of 21 in Europe, and was reportedly wanted by Napoli, Roma and Juventus, as well as Carlo Ancelotti’s Paris Saint-Germain. At the 2012 AIC Gran Gala del Calcio, he was elected the best player of the 2011–12 Serie B season, along with former Pescara team-mates Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne.
On 18 July 2012, Verratti signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain in the French Ligue 1. After making his debut against Lille, the midfielder assisted Javier Pastore’s opening goal on his first appearance at the Parc des Princes, a 2–0 defeat of Toulouse.
On 18 September, he made his UEFA Champions League debut in a 4–1 defeat of Dynamo Kyiv. He ended his first season in the French capital by winning the 2012–13 Ligue 1 title. On 20 August 2013, Verratti signed a one-year extension to his contract with PSG, keeping him at the club until 2018.
Veratti’s second season with PSG was even more successful than the first as the team retained its league title and won the Coupe de la Ligue. Verratti was named as the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and included in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year for 2013–14.
On 30 September 2014, Verratti scored his first goal for PSG, a header in a 3–2 home win over Barcelona in the group stage of the Champions League. On 18 January 2015, Verratti scored his first goal in the Ligue 1, in a 4–2 home win over Evian.
At international level, Verratti represented the Italy under-21 football team at the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, winning a runners-up medal, and being named to the all-star squad for the tournament. At senior level, he made his Italy debut in 2012, and represented his country at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.