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José Fonte, a Portuguese soccer player, who plays represents the English Premier League club West Ham United as a centre back, besides the national team of Portugal.
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Fonte began his career as a professional footballer with Sporting CP B, before he moved on to join Crystal Palace in England in the year 2007. He joined Southampton three years later, and appeared in 288 matches in different competitions, before he recently signed with West Ham in 2017. Fonte was a member of the Portuguese squad that played in Euro 2016 and won the tournament.
Between 1991 and 1994, José Fonte played for the club Penafiel, based in his hometown. Fonte completed his training in football at the Portuguese club Sporting CP, after starting his youth career there at the age of 10 and staying there till he was 13. While he was still signed with Sporting from 1994 and 2002, he was loaned to Sacavenense, where he played from 1997 to 2000. He became part of the third division of Sporting CP, i.e. Sporting CP B in 2002, and stayed there till 2004, when he joined SC Salgueiros, but because of the financial difficulties of the club, they had to terminate his contract, and Fonte moved to Segunda Liga by joiningF.C. Felgueiras.
During the off-season of 2005, Fonte debuted in Primeira Liga with Vitória de Setúbal, and his performances drew the attention of S.L. Benfica, who brought him to the team in January 2006. However, he was immediately loaned out to F.C. Paços de Ferreira, where he played 26 league goals and made one goal against Penafiel during the season. Unfortunately, he also made two goals in his own net. In 2006-16, he was loaned to C.F. Estrela da Amadora, before joining Crystal Palace on loan in 2007-08.
Benfica loaned Fonte to Crystal Palace in 2007, and was introduced to the starting XI of the team after a series of injuries. At the end of the 2007-08 season, he joined the club in England permanently, with Palace finishing fifth. Fonte was a regular with the team in the Football League Championship seasons till 2010. He even played as a striker when needed.
In January 2010, Fonte joined Southampton, and his signing fee is believed to be around £1.2 million for three-and-a-half years. He debuted after one week, in a match against Millwall, which ended in a 1–1 draw. He made his first goal for his new team in August 2010, in a match against Bristol Rovers, which ended in a 4–0 win. With seven league goals that helped the team get promoted to the second level, he became part of the League One Team of the Year in 2010–11. He received the votes as Southampton’s Player of Year, and achieved 64% of the votes. In December 2011, Fonte’s contract got extended till 2015, and he went on to make 1 goal and 42 appearances, as Southampton got promoted the second time.
Fonte debuted in the English Premier League in August 2012 in a match against Manchester City in which his team had a 2–3 loss. His first two goals in the tournament were in a match against Fulham that ended in a 2–2 draw in August 2013,, with the second one being a header in the last minute of the match. In January 2014, Dani Osvaldo attacked Fonte during training, and in August, he signed a new three-year contract that tied him to the team till 2017. He also became the captain of the team. His 250th appearance in the leave for his team was in October 2016 against Burnley, in a 3–1 home win. During his tenure, Southampton managed to win the Football League Trophy of 2010.
In January 2017, Fonte, at the age of 33, joined West Ham United. His signing amount was reportedly £8 million, excluding possible add-on, for a deal of two and a half years. He debuted in the league in February against Manchester City, and his team had 0–4 loss, with Fonte conceding a penalty as he brought Raheem Sterling down. In November 2017, it was confirmed, after a league game against Crystal Palace, that he had sustained a foot injury. He was sidelined for the remaining season.
In 2006, Fonte was invited to join the U-21 segment of the Portuguese team and appear in Vale do Tejo tournament. In January, he appeared against Slovenia in a match that ended with a loss in the penalty shootout, following a 1–1 draw. In October 2014, when Fonte was almost 31, he first got the call-up to join full side, and appear in for a friendly with France, as well as be part of the qualifier round of Euro 2016 against Denmark. He debuted in an exhibition match, as he played the second half in the match that ended in his team’s victory over 1–0 over Argentina in November. Fernando Santos, the manager of the team, selected him to be part of the 2016 Euro squad. Fonte’s debut match in the tournament was in June in the round-of-16 game against Croatia, and it ended with a 1–0 win. He retained his position till the final, winning over France. During his tenure, Portugal has won the European Championship of 2016.
The current Market Value of Fonte, as of 2018, is £4.5 million. This is a drop from his highest market value, which was £6.3 million in 2017. His outfitter is Nike, and he wears Nike Tiempo Legend VII FG while playing.
Fonte was born in Penafiel, in the district of Porto in Portugal. He completed his soccer training after playing there for three years since he was 10 years old, at Sporting CP. His father, Artur, played in the top division of Portugal for 12 years. Fonte’s younger brother, Rui, is a football player, as well, who plays as a forward, and the two brothers played as teammates at the youth team of Sporting CP, as well as at Crystal Palace.
José Fonte is married to Cassie Sumner Fonte who is a celebrated personality in the entertainment area and has stayed busy since her early twenties. While she is a Cassie private person, she has grabbed attention for her TV appearances. And, while the two are not always seen together, Cassie is seen at his matches. The two are believed to have started dating Jose after she shifted to Portugal.
José Fonte is a valued soccer player, and he has made some match-winning contributions for his teams. In the process, he has also earned some individual honours. He has rightly been awarded the PFA Team of the Year in the 2010–11 League One, as well as the Southampton F.C. Player of the Season in 2010–11 and 2014–15.