“Ciro” is the nickname of Dries Mertens, a Belgian professional football player who plays for Serie A club Napoli and the national team of Belgium. As a youth, Mertens played for Stade Leuven, Anderlecht, and Gent, before making his debut on loan at Eendracht Aalst in the Belgian Third Division. During his time in the Eerste Divisie, he spent three years with AGOVV Apeldoorn before moving for €600,000 to Utrecht of the Eredivisie.
In 2012, he and teammate Kevin Strootman were transferred to PSV Eindhoven for a combined fee of €13 million and won the KNVB Cup and Johan Cruyff Shield. Mertens joined Napoli for a fee of €9.6 million in 2013 and has since played over 300 matches for the club. During the 2016–17 season, he was named to the Serie A Team of the Year after winning the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in 2014. The 2020 season marks his 122nd goal for the club, surpassing Marek Hamsik as Napoli’s all-time leading goalscorer.
In 2011, he made his Belgian debut and has since played over 100 times for the national team. He was also part of the club’s squads at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and UEFA Euro 2020, helping them to a third-place finish in the 2018 tournament. He was named Belgian Footballer of the Year in 2016.
Dries Mertens Bio/Wiki[table id=3240 /]
The Full Story of Football Genius is presented by Woodgram, who has the nicknames “Ciro” and “Ciruzz”.
Dries Mertens’s Biography provides a detailed account of notable events from his childhood until the present. The analysis includes his life story before fame, relationship life, family background, and many OFF-Pitch (little known) facts about him.
Everyone knows he is a dead-ball specialist. Like Eden and Thorgan Hazard, he is a Belgian football legend. In addition, he is one of the many Napoli legends alongside Kalidou Koulthaly. Despite this, only a few fans know much about Dries Mertens’ biography, which is quite fascinating.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Drys Mertens was born in Leuven, Belgium’s Flemish region, on May 6th, 1987 to Marijke Mertens and Herman Mertens. Dries is the only child of football-loving parents who had a big vision for their only child.
As a child, he had high regard for his parents, who instilled in him the moral and ethical values of life. One of these involves Dries learning to appreciate the little things in life. Dries Mertens was a humble and withdrawn student who excelled in academics while at school.
His school then offered him the opportunity to participate in competitive soccer during sports periods. While on breaks, Mertens would play football every second he had. His ability to handle the ball better than his teammates led his school coach to meet his parents and urge them to help their son become a professional footballer.
In the mid-1990s, Belgium witnessed a new wave of football enthusiasm. When its national team disgracefully failed to qualify for the 1998 world cup group stage, a country with only 11rn people had a watershed moment.
Bob Browaeys, a coach of Belgium youth teams at all levels, was given the task of creating a blueprint document that would challenge the “lack of a unified vision on youth” football at that time.
Over 30 Belgian federation coaches met to discuss the radical change in approach to football in the country due to this document. Their findings showed that there was far too much emphasis on winning and not enough on development. Dries Mertens was one of the beneficiaries of Belgium’s youth football revolution.
Two years (1996) before the France 1998 World Cup that sparked the Belgian football revolution, his parents enrolled him on the roster of the local team, Stade Leuven. As the football revolution began in Belgium, funds were made available to develop young players. The system favored bigger clubs like Anderlecht, whose scouts were empowered to recruit talented kids from local clubs.
Anderlecht’s scouts initially noticed Mertens at his club, and ultimately offered him a chance to join the club’s youth academy in 1998.
Despite not being wealthy, Diers Mertens’ parents supported their son to the fullest. He was right when he said:
“My father usually drives me with his bus to Anderlecht and he takes me from the age of 11 to 18 years old every day to training in Brussels.”
As soon as he switched to Anderlecht, his old club was dissolved by the Belgian Football Authorities who were targeting mushroom clubs at the time. Drys Mertens spent five years in the Anderlecht youth setup before he experienced the biggest disappointment of his young life.
Coaches found him to be too short and physically incapable of competing at a professional level, so they released him in 2003. Mertens was signed by fellow Belgian Pro League side Gent after being released by Anderlecht, where he climbed all youth ranks to finish his youth career. However, he struggled to progress in his career.
Gent’s coaching staff, like those at Anderlecht before, were still unconvinced by Mertens’s small frame. Instead of selling him, they decided to loan him out. To AGOVV Apeldoorn in the Netherlands.
After crossing the border into the Netherlands, Mertens was on his way to becoming a professional footballer. Apeldoorn became the launching pad for Mertens’s career. He excelled, became captain, and won the 2009 Gouden Stier, given to the best player in the Dutch second division.
Mertens became a late bloomer to fame because he struggled with rejection. After making his Eredivisie debut with Utrecht at 22, he only began playing at the highest level at the age of 22. As a result of his performance, Utrecht qualified for Europe for the first time in four years, earning him a nomination for Dutch Footballer of the Year.
In those days, the rise of the Belgian was the most talked-about storyline in the country. In 2011, he joined PSV. The Italian club came calling after he scored 37 goals in 62 appearances. Rafael Benitez’s first signing as Napoli’s new manager was Martens. At Napoli, handsome Mertens used his low center of gravity to buzz around in wide areas, causing top defenders to be bamboozled.
The rest is now history, as they say.
Drys Mertens is indeed handsome and taken (sorry ladies!). The only person in his heart is his childhood sweetheart, Kat Kerkhofs. The couple dated for ten years before deciding to wed. Mertens married his childhood love and partner Kat in Naples in June 2015.
Kat comes from an affluent family and is a dancer and researcher. Her father, Late Mr. Kerkhofs, was a popular musician and drummer in the seventies. Mr. Kerkhofs died on Christmas Eve of a heart attack in 2004.
In an interview with Belgian television channel Vier, Kat Kerkhofs revealed that she and her husband enjoy getting intimate in public, especially in train toilets. Naples organized a couple friendly of Halloween events. Dries Mertens and his wife Kat had to get creative by posing as two Napoli teammates.
Mertens revealed that he and his good lady dressed up as two of his Napoli teammates, namely Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Harnsik, on Halloween.
Dries Mertens rejected a big-money move to China on the grounds that his parents would be disappointed with him if he pursued wealth. As a result, we gain more insight into The Dries Mertens Family Background. Dries described how his parents’ values had made him resist the desire for too much monies.
I Have Great Respect For What My Parents Did For Me When I Was A Child. They Did Not Raise Me Talking About Money – I Would Have Disappointed Them If I Went To China.”
Despite not disclosing the exact offer amount, Mertens admitted that it was challenging to reject such an enormous sum. According to Mertens:
“We Weighed The Pros And Cons, My Wife Read Testimonials From People Who Live There. Despite That, I Decided To Say No. I Can Tell You That It Is Difficult To Refuse Such An Amount. My Children And Even My Grandchildren Would No Longer Have Had To Worry About Their Future If I Had Accepted The Offer.”
Despite admitting that a good salary is important for his life, Mertens insists that his upbringing taught him to appreciate the small things, with a move to China for financial reasons not even on his radar.
Dries Mertens Net Worth
In 2023, how much will he earn?
S.S.C. Napoli signed the forward in May 2017 for a whopping salary of 7.4 million euros (6.3 million pounds) per year. According to our calculations, he earns €20,274 (£17,260) per day and €845 (£719) per hour.[table id=3239 /]
As a result of a stable career in Italy, his net worth has grown to 25 million Euros. At present, its market value is only $5.50 million.
Dries Mertens In FIFA 2022
He is currently 35 years old and plays forward for Napoli in Italy. FIFA 22 gives him an overall rating of 84 and a potential rating of 84. We rate his skill moves as 4 stars. It is his right foot that he prefers to shoot with. His workrates are high and low. Our database estimates that Matthias’s height is 169 cm and his weight is 61 kg. At the moment, Dries Mertens plays with the number 14.
The following are his best stats:
- Balance: 92
- Agility: 92
- Acceleration: 90
- Ball Control: 88
- Dribbling: 88
- Born in Leuven, Mertens began his football career at the now-dissolved Stade Leuven when he was a boy.
- The scouts of Anderlecht first spotted Mertens here, leading to his invitation to join Anderlecht’s youth academy in 1998.
- He spent five years in the youth setup at Anderlecht before being released in 2003 as coaches believed he was too short and physically incapable of competing at a professional level.
- Mertens was signed by fellow Belgian Pro League side Gent after being released by Anderlecht. Mertens spent two seasons in Gent’s youth academy before being loaned to Eendracht Aalst for the 2005–06 season.
- With the third division side, he was named Player of the Year.
- As with Anderlecht before, Gent remained unconvinced of Mertens due to his slight frame and loaned him out again the following season to AGOVV Apeldoorn in the Netherlands.
- Mertens officially joined AGOVV Apeldoorn on a season-long loan with the option of purchase on 1 July 2006.
- With 2 goals in 35 appearances, he became a fan favorite among De Blauwen supporters. In the following season, AGOVV, led by new manager John van den Brom, exercised the option to sign the Belgian permanently.
- The move paid off as Mertens ended the season with 15 goals in 38 appearances for the Dutch club.
- Mertens’ influence was such that he was named new club captain for the 2008-09 Eerste Divisie season.
- With 13 more goals for the season, he was awarded the Golden Bull award for the most talented player in the Eerste Divisie.
- He would leave the club at the end of the season to join Eredivisie side Utrecht. Mertens made 110 appearances across all competitions for AGOVV during his three seasons at the club and netted 31 goals.
- Utrecht completed the signing of Mertens for a transfer fee of €600,000 at the start of the 2009–10 Eredivisie season after agreeing on a contract with AGOVV in March 2009.
- After his debut season with the club, Mertens scored six league goals en route to being named runner-up to Luis Suárez of Ajax for the Dutch Footballer of the Year award.
- In addition, he was awarded the Di Tommaso Trophy for Utrecht’s Player of the Season. In the following season, he scored 10 goals in 31 league appearances for Utrecht, including a hat-trick against AZ on the final day of the season, and three more goals in his first experience in the UEFA Europa League.
- Mertens scored 14 goals and contributed 24 assists across all competitions. Though he was at the club for just one season, his form at Stadion Galgenwaard caught the attention of some of the league’s biggest clubs.
- Mertens’ two-season spell in Utrecht yielded 21 goals in 86 appearances across all competitions.
- It was announced in June 2011 that Mertens had joined fellow Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven as a replacement for Balázs Dzsudzsák in a dual transfer with Utrecht teammate Kevin Strootman for a combined fee of €13 million.
- On 7 August 2011, he scored on his competitive debut for the club in a 3–1 defeat to AZ.
- On 28 August, Mertens scored his first hat-trick for PSV in a 6–1 thrashing of Excelsior.
- ‘Mertens’ impressive start to the season culminated in four goals in a 7–1 victory over Roda JC on 24 September 2011, giving him 11 goals in his first seven appearances for PSV.
- As the campaign came to a close, Mertens lost a number of teeth in a collision with Heracles goalkeeper Remko Pasveer, although he still managed to score during the incident.
- Twitter revealed that Pasveer found one of Mertens’ teeth lodged in his head three weeks after the players collided.
- Mertens, who ended the season with 21 goals in 33 games, was the fourth-highest scorer in the Eredivisie. A header in the final of the KNVB Cup at De Kuip, Rotterdam, gave PSV a 3–0 win over Heracles.
- At the start of the following season, he added to his collection of silverware as PSV beat Ajax 4–2 to win the Johan Cruyff Shield.
- Mertens and Jürgen Locadia, who was making his Eredivisie debut, both scored hat-tricks as PSV defeated VVV-Venlo 6–0 on 30 September 2012.
- He scored 14 league goals and 16 in all competitions as PSV finished second to Ajax in the Eredivisie.
- In addition, he contributed 17 assists to his team’s cause. He would leave the Eredivisie at the end of the season, as PSV accepted an offer from Serie A side Napoli.
- Over the course of two seasons, he made 88 appearances and scored 45 goals for Eindhoven.
- The player’s agent Soren Lerby confirmed on 16 June 2013 that he would sign with Napoli.
- He is the first signing of Rafael Benitez as Napoli manager after he reportedly agreed to a fee of €9.5 million with PSV.
- He made his Serie A debut against Bologna on 25 August 2013, coming on as a second-half substitute for Marek Hamsik.
- On 30 October, he scored his first goal for Napoli in the club’s 2–1 away victory over Fiorentina.
- Napoli’s first game after the Serie A winter break saw Mertens score his first brace for the club in a 2–0 win over Sampdoria on 6 January 2014.
- Napoli lost 2–0 to Juventus on 30 March as a result of his second goal, inflicting only the second league defeat on the eventual champions.
- In the final of the Coppa Italia on 3 May 2014, Mertens replaced Marek Hamsik in the 64th minute and went on to score in stoppage time, ensuring Fiorentina a 3–1 victory.
- After Napoli’s penalty shoot-out victory over Juventus in the Supercoppa on 22 December 2014, he won his second winners’ medal.
- Despite primarily being used as a substitute, he continued to excel for Napoli over the next season and a half, scoring 10 goals and providing 11 assists across all competitions in 2014–15, and 11 more in 2015–16.
- Among his goals in the latter campaign was a brace in Napoli’s 5–0 win over Belgian side Club Brugge, Napoli’s joint-largest ever winning margin in the Europa League.
- Mertens also scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 victory over Bologna on 19 April 2016.
- After Gonzalo Higuain, the previous season’s Capocannoniere, moved to Juventus, and Arkadiusz Milik was injured, Mertens assumed an important role as the center of Napoli’s attack for the 2016–17 Serie A season.
- On 11 December 2016, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 Serie A victory over Cagliari before scoring four goals in a 5–3 win against Torino the following week.
- The four goals by Martens – including the fourth-fastest hat-trick in Serie A history – were the first by a Napoli player since Beppe Savoldi in 1977.
- It was also his first league hat-trick since Juventus’ Pietro Anastasi in 1974, and the first time he scored seven goals over two matches since Antonio Angelillo in 1958.
- His performances for club and country were recognized when, on 30 December, he was named Belgian Footballer of the Year for 2016, beating Eden Hazard of Chelsea and Radja Nainggolan of Roma.
- The match on 4 February 2017 saw Mertens and Hamsik grab hat-tricks in a 7–1 win over Bologna, resulting in Napoli’s first-ever away win with seven goals.
- In the final game of the season, he scored his 50th league goal for Napoli and his 28th for the season, finishing just one goal behind Golden Boot winner Edin Džeko.
- In the following season, he maintained his goal-scoring form, scoring 22 goals.
- Mertens scored both goals in Napoli’s 3–1 UEFA Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade on 28 November 2018, his 100th for the club.
- The following day, he marked his 200th Serie A appearance for the club with an assist for Kalidou Koulibaly’s opening goal in a 3–1 win over Chievo on 14 April 2019.
- In Napoli’s 2–0 away win over Frosinone on 28 April, Mertens equaled Diego Maradona’s Serie A goal tally of 81.
- He surpassed Maradona’s tally of 115 goals for the club across all competitions in October 2019, when he scored twice in a 3–2 Champions League win over Red Bull Salzburg, becoming the club’s second-highest scorer of all time.
- On 25 February 2020, Mertens scored the opening goal in an eventual 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the first leg of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. His 121 goals tied Hamsik as Napoli’s all-time highest goal scorer.
- He was injured in the second half and was later taken off. It was his equalizing goal in a 1–1 home draw against Inter Milan in the 2019–20 Coppa Italia semi-final that saw him overtake Hamsik as Napoli’s all-time leading goalscorer with 122, and also allowed the Naples to advance to the Coppa Italia Final.
- He signed a two-year contract extension with the club on 17 June. Later that day, he started the Coppa Italia final against Juventus before being replaced by Milik in the second half; Napoli won 4–2 on penalties following a 0–0 draw after regulation time.
- Mertens scored his 99th and 100th Serie A goals for Napoli in a 2–0 loss to Roma on 21 March 2021.
- In the Serie A match against Inter on 21 November 2021, Mertens scored his 103rd goal for Napoli, becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer.
- Mertens previously represented Belgium at the youth level but received his first call-up to the senior team by national coach Georges Leekens on 1 October 2010 for the nation’s UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying matches against Kazakhstan and Austria.
- Despite not featuring in either match, Mertens made his debut on 9 February the following year in a friendly against Finland in Ghent.
- As a Belgian, he won his first cap on 15 August 2012, in the 125th Derby der Lage Landen.
- After replacing Nacer Chadli, Mertens scored one goal and provided two assists to help Belgium defeat the Netherlands 4–2.
- On 13 May 2014, Mertens was named to Marc Wilmots’ 23-man squad for Belgium’s 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign in Brazil.
- In the nation’s final warm-up match ahead of the tournament on 7 June, Mertens scored a late winner to secure a 1–0 victory over Tunisia.
- Corey made his first appearance of the tournament for Belgium, replacing Chadli at halftime and scoring the winner in a 2–1 victory over Algeria in Belo Horizonte.
- Before the World Cup began, Mertens made a bet with his father that he would score a goal.
- His father’s mustache was shaved off as a reward for winning the bet after he posted a photo on Instagram after the match.
- During the World Cup, he made five appearances, as Belgium lost to eventual runners-up, Argentina, in the quarter-finals.
- Belgium began its qualification campaign for Euro 2016 after the World Cup. In Belgium’s 6–0 win over Andorra, Mertens scored two goals in three minutes for his first brace for the national team.
- In the following year, he assisted on one goal and scored another in Belgium’s 3–1 win over Israel, which secured the top spot in Belgium’s qualifying group.
- After being named in the Belgium squad for the tournament proper, he played in all five matches as the nation fell at the quarter-final stage once again, this time to Wales.
- Under the new manager Roberto Martinez, Mertens scored five goals for Belgium during their qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, including two in an 8–1 home victory over Estonia on 13 November 2016.
- Belgium’s tournament squad then selected him and he scored in the nation’s opening match in a 3–0 win over Panama.
- For the remainder of the tournament, he played as both a starter and substitute as Belgium finished third, defeating England in the third-place play-off.
- Mertens played his 100th match for Belgium in a 2–1 win over Denmark during the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament on 17 June 2021.
Facts About Dries Mertens
- A strong army needs a competent executioner. Dries Mertens is that silent performer in the ‘Golden Generation of Belgian Football’ who slickly executes the role of winger and is highly rated both for his pace and finishing.
- He plays mostly as a winger for Napoli SSC and the Belgian national team. He has also displayed commendable abilities in the central striker role.
- He was born in Leuven, Belgium, on 6 May 1987. During his footballing career he played for Stade Leuven, a local club.
- The youth academy of KAA Gent provided him with the perfect platform to develop his football skills.
- Aalst and AGOVV in the Netherlands, where his brilliant skills attracted the attention of bigger clubs, he then moved to the Netherlands to play for third division sides.
- Before making his senior team debut, Mertens had played for the Belgian Under 17 team. He was substituted in the second half of a match against Finland in September 2011. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.
- Regardless of club or country affiliation, Mertens has proven to be a consistent performer over the years. His knack for scoring important goals makes him an indispensable member of Napoli and Belgium.
- Mertens is a regular starter above the likes of talented wingers like Yannick Carrasco and Kevin Mirallas in Belgium.
- His World Cup was an eventful one in which he scored a last gasp winner against Algeria in the group stages, and played in all of Belgium’s matches until they were eliminated by Argentina in the quarterfinals.
- Mertens has improved dramatically in terms of his style of play. Mertens has also developed into a lethal goalscorer in addition to his guile and creativity. Edin Dzeko edged out his tally of 28 goals by a single goal to be the top scorer in the 2016/17 Serie A season.
- He was at his prolific best in the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign where he netted 5 goals.
- Having spent his youth career with lower-league Belgian clubs, his first senior contract was a loan spell with Dutch third division side Eendracht Aalst.
- In the years that followed, he spent a long time at AGOVV, where dominating the opposition was the norm. In 2008, he won the Eerste Divisie best player award for his outstanding performances.
- While his time at Utrecht was eventful, Mertens became a goalscoring machine at PSV. Mertens scored 37 league goals in 62 games.
For Napoli, Drys Mertens has emerged as one of the hottest strikers in Europe over the past two seasons after a remarkable transformation from a backup winger. For Napoli in that period, 56 goals have been scored, and the side came agonizingly close to winning the Scudetto for the first time in almost three decades in 2017-18.
Dries Mertens is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker or winger for Serie A club Napoli and the Belgium national team.
His sister Elise Mertens is a Belgian professional tennis player.