Lyon confirm Nemanja Matic signing from Rennes on deal until 2026 with former Man United and Chelsea midfielder joining French giants engulfed in relegation battle

Nemanja Matic has joined Lyon from Rennes on a deal until 2026, the club have announced. 

Matic, 35, joins amid a catastrophic season with Lyon sitting 16th in Ligue 1, the division’s relegation play-off spot. 

The 35-year-old only played 13 games in half a season at Rennes before making the switch. 

He did not feature in Rennes’ 3-2 win over Lyon on Friday night. 

Matic, a two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea, has also played for Manchester United, Roma, and Benfica among others, bringing serious pedigree, but a relegation battle is a new challenge for him.  

Lyon have confirmed the signing of Nemanja Matic from Rennes until 2026 

His career has seen him play 620 games at club level and a further 48 for Serbia. 

As a physical and tactically astute defensive midfielder, he should add solidity and wisdom to Lyon’s midfield – but he joins at a shocking time for the club. 

Lyon are already on their third manager of the season in what could go down as one of the worst in the club’s history. 

Pierre Sage is in the driving seat at the moment and started strongly but two losses have plunged them back into the danger zone. 

Lyon have continuously been in the top flight since 1989 and the last time they even finished outside the top half was in 1996. 

Between 2001 and 2008, they won eight consecutive league titles to asser themselves as the dominant French footballing brand. 

Matic joins at an unstable time in their history, and their last two league finishes were lower than usual.

Furious ultras confronted players after a 4-1 defeat by PSG earlier this season.

Matic, a two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea, brings a wealth of experience

Matic, a two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea, brings a wealth of experience 

The Serbian midfielder spent five seasons with Manchester United between 2017 and 2022

The Serbian midfielder spent five seasons with Manchester United between 2017 and 2022

Lyon players were given an extraordinary dressing down by their fans, who warned them against ‘smearing’ the club’s shirt after being hammered at home. 

After the final whistle, the players stood in front of the Virage Nord, the end housing the Bad Gones ultras – Lyon’s most prominent ultras group and one of the biggest in Ligue 1.

Lyon players sheepishly stared towards the stands as one of the ultras’ leaders addressed them with a megaphone.

‘To the Olympique Lyonnais 2023-2024 squad, this message is addressed to you,’ he said.

‘To those who assume the status of dressing-room leaders, the message is clear: If there are leaders in this dressing room, they no longer have the right to remain silent.

‘You’re wearing the Olympique Lyonnais jersey. You’re the ones who wear the Olympique Lyon jersey.

‘Others before you have worn it, glorified it.

Olympique Lyon players were given an extraordinary dressing down by their fans earlier this season

Olympique Lyon players were given an extraordinary dressing down by their fans earlier this season

One of the leaders of the Bad Gones ultras group urged the team's leaders to step up after they lost 4-1 to PSG in September

One of the leaders of the Bad Gones ultras group urged the team’s leaders to step up after they lost 4-1 to PSG in September

‘You don’t have the right to tarnish it. Now that the transfer window is over, the squad is here. All we ask is to be by your side.

‘But to do that, you’re going to have to earn it. We love and respect this shirt.

‘There’s only one other thing we ask: to sing your names. Sing them with love, not like we sang the names of the little *******. who have left our club in the last six months.

‘We want to sing your names with respect, with love. Because we know you play with love.

‘But we expect you guys to respect our jersey […] and if we have to take our losses to do so with our heads held high. Go OL.’

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