Jose Fonte


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1983 (35 years old)

Birth Place
Penafiel, Portugal


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1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)






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French Ligue 1

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José Miguel da Rocha Fonte (Portuguese pronunciation: ; born 22 December 1983) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a central defender for English club West Ham United and the Portugal national team.

He started his professional career with Sporting B, moving to England with Crystal Palace in 2007. In 2010 he signed with Southampton, where he made 288 appearances in all competitions, until he joined West Ham in January 2017.

A Portuguese international since age 30, Fonte was part of the squad at Euro 2016, winning the tournament.

Born in Penafiel, Fonte finished his football education (after already having played there from ages 10–13) at Sporting Clube de Portugal, but only appeared with the reserves as a senior, in the third division. In 2004 he signed with S.C. Salgueiros, but the club was in severe financial difficulties and was liquidated shortly thereafter; as a result he terminated his contract and transferred to F.C. Felgueiras, in the Segunda Liga.

In the 2005 off-season, Fonte made his Primeira Liga debut with Vitória de Setúbal, where his performances attracted the eye of S.L. Benfica, who signed him in January 2006, immediately loaning him out to fellow league side F.C. Paços de Ferreira; he finished the season with 26 league appearances and one goal, as both Paços and Setúbal managed to maintain their division status.

Fonte spent the 2006–07 season on loan to C.F. Estrela da Amadora, still in the top division, only missing five league games as the Lisbon-based club finished in ninth position.

Fonte signed for Southampton on 9 January 2010 for a fee believed to be around the region of £1.2 million, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract. He made his debut one week later alongside two other recent signings, Jon Otsemobor and Danny Seaborne, in a 1–1 draw at Millwall; his first goal for the Saints came on 28 August 2010, in a 4–0 away win against Bristol Rovers.

After scoring seven league goals and helping Southampton gain promotion to the second level, Fonte was named in the League One Team of the Year for the 2010–11 season. He was also voted Southampton's Player of Year, achieving 64% of the overall vote, with Adam Lallana coming second with 18% and Dan Harding finishing third (7%).

On 29 December 2011, Fonte signed a new contract keeping him at the club until 2015. Southampton were top of the table when he signed, with the player having appeared in every league game, and he eventually contributed with 42 matches and one goal (against Coventry City in the final matchday) as the side achieved a second consecutive promotion.

Fonte made his debut in the Premier League on 19 August 2012, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–3 away loss against Manchester City. He netted his first Premier League goal(s) in a 2–2 home draw against Fulham on 7 October, the second arriving in the last minute; on 24 August 2013, he scored a header in the 89th minute of the home game against Sunderland, rescuing a point for his team.

On 23 January 2014, Fonte was attacked by teammate Dani Osvaldo during a training session. Subsequently, the latter was loaned out to Juventus F.C. during the winter transfer window.

On 8 August 2014, Fonte penned a new three-year deal with Southampton running until 2017, and was also named team captain.

Fonte was called up to the Portuguese under-21 squad for the Vale do Tejo tournament in 2006. On 24 January he played against Slovenia, as the match ended with a penalty shootout loss after a 1–1 draw.

On 3 October 2014, at nearly 31, Fonte received his first call-up to the full side, for a friendly with France and a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Denmark. He made his debut in another exhibition game, playing the second half of a 1–0 win over Argentina at Old Trafford on 18 November.

Fonte was selected by manager Fernando Santos for his Euro 2016 squad. His first game in the tournament took place on 25 June, as he started alongside Southampton teammate Cédric Soares in the round-of-16 clash against Croatia (1–0 triumph after extra time); he went on to retain his position until the final, won at the expense of hosts France.

Fonte's younger brother, Rui, is also a footballer. A forward, the two were teammates at Sporting (youth) and Crystal Palace.

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