Julián Malatini will be a welcome addition to Werder Bremen's defence. - © IMAGO/nordphoto GmbH / Kokenge
Julián Malatini will be a welcome addition to Werder Bremen's defence. - © IMAGO/nordphoto GmbH / Kokenge

Julián Malatini: Who is Werder Bremen's new 6"3' Argentine centre-back?


Werder Bremen have signed 22-year-old centre-back Julián Malatini to boost their defensive arrivals, but who exactly is their new arrival? bundesliga.com gives you the lowdown…

Data correct as of 17 January 2024

Julián Malatini

Age: 22 (born 31 May 2021)
Club: Werder Bremen
Position: Centre-back
Country: Argentina

Key stats

Imposing central defender Malatini was born in the Argentinian town of General Cabrera, in the province of Córdoba. Aged just five, he joined up with local side Unión Deportiva before moving on to lower league outfit Ateneo Vecinos. It wasn’t until he was 16 that he was spotted by a professional outfit, Talleres, who acquired his services following a successful trial period in 2017. The youngster initially played for the reserves and had to wait patiently for his maiden call-up to the senior squad, which came in 2020 under former Uruguay international Alexander Medina. After featuring in a number of friendlies, Malatini finally made his first-team debut on 6 March 2021 against Sarmiento Junin in the Copa de la Liga, playing 24 minutes of the 1-1 draw.

During the 2021 Primera División, Malatini made 19 appearances, scoring once and providing an assist as Talleres secured a third-place finish behind champions River Plate. The following term, he started off as a regular in the starting XI, but had to make do with a reduced role as the season approached its climax. Ultimately, Defensa y Justicia made a move to sign him on loan at the start of 2023 with an option to buy, which was exercised at the end of the calendar year after Malatini had helped the team to a Copa Sudamericana semi-final. Internationally, the 6”3’ ace has yet to pick up a cap at any level, but has previously trained with Argentina’s U18s and U20s.

Plays a bit like… Amos Pieper

Former Borussia Dortmund academy member Pieper has been out since November with a broken ankle, and Bremen have now moved to replace him with a player who possesses a similar profile.

The two stand at roughly the same height and are both capable of playing at right-back – admittedly, Malatini has done so considerably more than Pieper during his career. There may be a place for both of them in Ole Werner’s starting line-up when that aforementioned ankle issue is a thing of the past, but for now, the fresh face can fill the Pieper-sized hole at the back.

Did you know…?

In an attempt to help Malatini adapt to a new country and league, former Bremen forward Nelson Valdez has been promoted from his role as U23s assistant coach to the senior team's backroom staff.

The 77-time Paraguay international switched to Bremen from Tembetary in his homeland in 2001 and went on to make close to 200 Bundesliga appearances across spells with Die Werderaner, Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt. Therefore, he has already undertaken the journey on which Malatini will now embark, and the hope is that Valdez’s input will help with the transition.

“Nelson made a similar move as a youngster and his experiences will be helpful for him," said head of professional football, Clemens Fritz. "He will be his go-to guy both on and off the pitch, and will be there to help him settle into life in Bremen and integrate into the team.”

Nelso Valdez made 80 Bundesliga appearances for Werder Bremen towards the start of the 21st century. - Imago

What they’re saying

"I can say that I’m a very quiet person. However, on the pitch I’m totally different and play with a lot of aggression. I never give up on a ball." - Malatini discussing his style

"We've heard very encouraging things about Julián. He's a tall defender with good raw pace and tackling ability, and he has great potential. I'm looking forward to working with him." - Werder Bremen boss Ole Werner

"Julián is in Europe for the first time, so he’ll firstly need to get settled in Bremen and within the squad." Fritz on the club's latest signing