José Fonte, a Lille player and Portuguese international champion of Europe, was live on Eleven Sports Facebook.
For almost an hour, the central spoke about the end of the season in Ligue 1, decreed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and recalled the most important moments of a career that led him to play in Portugal, England, China and France. Without playing since 8 March, the French government’s decision not to allow sport to resume has led José Fonte to a long sporting break.
The 36-year-old player is saddened by the lack of competition, but reveals the good side of the quarantine: “As my family does not live with me in France, I have taken the opportunity to spend more time with them and it has been excellent. I have enjoyed time with my children and family. But of course, the end of the season in France was a disappointment, as we came from an excellent phase. We were making a fantastic recovery, we were already one point behind Rennes and seven points behind Marseille, who was in 2nd place and gives us direct access to the Champions League, which was our big goal. Now we need to focus on the next season, as we will start training on June 12th ”.
Fonte, who has scored 71 games for Lille in the last two seasons, now has Renato Sanches as his teammate. The ex-Benfica was highlighted in 2019-20 and José Fonte praises the young man: “He is undoubtedly a different player for the better. In a short time, he became, perhaps, our most important player. Now he understands all the stages of the game, he always wants to improve. Today, he is undoubtedly a better player ”.
The center-back, who claims to already “miss football”, has 42 caps and was a key player in winning Euro’2016, but only made his debut for the national team at the age of 31. José Fonte recalled the difficult journey that led him to the Quinas team: “The selection’s dream has grown over the years. I arrived in England at the age of 24, for Crystal Palace, which was in the Championship. Two and a half years later, I was still in the Championship, and I made the decision to go to League One, to Southampton. It was the right decision I made. Two years later he was in the Premier League and, after two years in the Premier League, he was in the national team. I will not deny that, at the age of 31, hope was waning, mainly due to the arrival of the artist Fernando Santos, who had dismissed me both at Sporting and Benfica. But the artist Fernando Santos showed all his greatness, he trusted me, and after a year he was already European champion. I am grateful to the artist Fernando Santos for believing in me when perhaps I did not even believe it was possible. For the player Fernando Santos I play until I am 50 ”, said the central.
José Fonte, who said that “winning Euro’2016 was, without a doubt, the best moment of my career”, assured that the selection looks higher. “We want more. It was a pity that the Euro was postponed, because we want to be two-time European champions ”, he assured.
Regarding the future, José Fonte highlights the “thanks” to Lille, a club that “placed a lot of expectations on me”, even though he does not rule out the possibility of still playing in Portugal. “Sporting, being the club that formed me and where I grew up, always has space in my heart. I feel happy and cherished in my club, but in football everything is possible and it is always prestigious to play for Sporting, Benfica or FC Porto ”, assured the central, who recalled the“ cartoon ”story of Papa Waigo, his partner in Southampton, that “before the games, she called her mother to kill a chicken, out of superstition.”
Finally, Fonte assured the “will to continue in a position linked to football when his career ends. I want to play two or three more years at a high level and then be connected to football, the world I understand best ”. The central took the opportunity to send a message of thanks to the Portuguese: “I appreciate all the words of affection that people give me, I live a lot of that strength”, he explained.