Paulo Fonseca

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Paulo Fonseca
Fonseca with Lille in 2022
Personal information
Full name Paulo Alexandre Rodrigues Fonseca[1]
Date of birth (1973-03-05) 5 March 1973 (age 51)[1]
Place of birth Nampula, Mozambique
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[1]
Position(s) Centre-back
Team information
Current team
Lille (head coach)
Youth career
1982–1983 Galitos
1983–1984 UD Vila Chã
1985–1986 Santoantoniense
1986–1991 Barreirense
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1995 Barreirense 91 (6)
1995–1998 Porto 0 (0)
1995–1996Leça (loan) 22 (0)
1996–1997Belenenses (loan) 27 (1)
1997–1998Marítimo (loan) 31 (2)
1998–2000 Vitória Guimarães 6 (0)
2000–2005 Estrela Amadora 72 (4)
Total 249 (13)
Managerial career
2005–2007 Estrela Amadora (youth)
2007–2008 1º Dezembro
2008–2009 Odivelas
2009–2011 Pinhalnovense
2011–2012 Aves
2012–2013 Paços Ferreira
2013–2014 Porto
2014–2015 Paços Ferreira
2015–2016 Braga
2016–2019 Shakhtar Donetsk
2019–2021 Roma
2022– Lille
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Paulo Alexandre Rodrigues Fonseca (born 5 March 1973) is a Portuguese professional football manager and former player who played as a central defender. He is the current head coach of French Ligue 1 club Lille.

He amassed Primeira Liga totals of 111 matches and three goals over seven seasons, representing Leça, Belenenses, Marítimo, Vitória de Guimarães and Estrela da Amadora.

Fonseca became a manager in 2005, notably winning the 2015–16 Taça de Portugal with Braga as well as three editions of the Ukrainian Premier League with Shakhtar Donetsk. He also coached Paços de Ferreira to a best-ever third place in the 2012–13 Primeira Liga, qualifying the club for the UEFA Champions League. Following a couple of seasons in charge of Roma in Serie A, he was appointed at Lille in June 2022.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Nampula, Portuguese Mozambique to a military father, Fonseca was a year old when his family relocated to Barreiro following the Carnation Revolution.[2] He played 14 years as a senior, beginning with his adopted hometown's Barreirense in the third division and moving straight to the Primeira Liga with Leça in the 1995–96 season, starting in 21 of his league appearances as the club finished 14th and narrowly avoided relegation. In the following five years he continued in the latter competition, being first choice with Belenenses and Marítimo but only a backup with Vitória de Guimarães and Estrela da Amadora.[3][4]

Fonseca retired in June 2005 at the age of 32 after a further four campaigns with Estrela, three of those spent in the Segunda Liga. In the 2003–04 campaign he participated in 15 games as the Lisbon side ranked last in the top tier, with the subsequent relegation.[4]

Coaching career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Fonseca started coaching immediately after retiring, remaining two years at the helm of Estrela da Amadora's youths. From 2007 to 2011 he was in charge of several modest teams, notably Pinhalnovense which he led to the quarter-finals of the Taça de Portugal in both the 2009–10 and 2010–11 seasons.[5][6]

In 2011–12, Fonseca was appointed at Aves in division two for his first job in the professionals,[7] and he led the team to the third position, just two points shy of promotion.[8]

Paços Ferreira[edit]

In his first season in charge of a top-flight team, Fonseca led Paços de Ferreira to a third-place finish[9] after signing a two-year contract on 28 May 2012.[10] The club consequently qualified for the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League for the first and only time in its history;[11] in the domestic league, they only lost to champions Porto and runners-up Benfica,[12][13] notably winning both games against Braga (2–0 at home, 3–2 away) and Sporting CP (1–0 on both occasions).[14][15][16]

Paços also reached the semi-finals of the Portuguese Cup that campaign, being knocked out by Benfica.[17]


Fonseca succeeded Vítor Pereira at Porto – winners of the last three league titles – when he joined on a two-year deal on 10 June 2013.[18][19] He started his spell on a high note, winning the year's Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira after a 3–0 victory over Vitória de Guimarães which marked his first honour as a coach.[20][21]

However, on 5 March 2014, following a string of poor results that left the club in the third position in the league, nine points behind leaders Benfica, Fonseca was relieved of his duties.[22] Previously, on 12 January, he had stated that Porto would be champions in the last matchday against that opponent.[23]

Paços return and Braga[edit]

On 11 June 2014, Fonseca returned to Paços de Ferreira.[24] His one season back at the Estádio da Mata Real resulted in an eighth-place finish, missing out on qualification for the UEFA Europa League on the final day.[25]

Fonseca agreed to a two-year contract with Braga on 1 July 2015.[26] He led them to fourth position,[27] also winning the domestic cup for the first time in 50 years with a penalty shootout victory over Porto in the final.[28][29] In the Europa League, they reached the last-eight stage.[27]

Shakhtar Donetsk[edit]

Fonseca presenting five new signings in July 2018

Fonseca moved abroad for the first time in his career on 31 May 2016, replacing legendary Mircea Lucescu (12 seasons) at the helm of Shakhtar Donetsk and signing a two-year contract at the Ukrainian Premier League side.[30][31] He won the double in all three seasons of his spell[32][33]– which earned him the distinction as the league's best coach in 2016–17.[34]

Fonseca's side reached the round of 16 of the 2017–18 Champions League,[35] after finishing second in the group stage following a 2–1 home defeat of Premier League club Manchester City.[36] Having inflicted a first defeat in 29 matches of Pep Guardiola's side, he kept a promise to do his next press conference dressed as the fictional hero Zorro.[37]


Paulo Fonseca.
Fonseca with Roma in 2020

On 11 June 2019, Fonseca was appointed manager of Roma.[38] He led the side to the fifth place in the Serie A in his first season,[39] as well as the semi-finals of the subsequent Europa League.[40][41] He announced his departure in May 2021.[42]

Immediately after leaving Roma, Fonseca was director Fabio Paratici's top choice to be manager of Tottenham Hotspur, but the advanced negotiations were scrapped on 17 June 2021,[43] allegedly due to tax issues.[44] However, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph in September, the former revealed that the main reason for this was that the latter wanted to hire a more defensive-minded coach.[45] In October, he was interviewed by Newcastle United following their Saudi-led takeover, before the interest shifted to Unai Emery and Eddie Howe;[46] his name was then linked to a third English club, Aston Villa.[47]


On 29 June 2022, Fonseca signed a two-year contract with French Ligue 1 club Lille.[48] He made his debut on 7 August in a 4–1 home win over Auxerre.[49] On 9 October, his team defeated Derby du Nord rivals Lens 1–0 also at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.[50] One of the best attacking sides in the first half of that season, they played an open 4–2–3–1 formation with Benjamin André, André Gomes or Angel Gomes being deployed as central midfielders behind playmaker Rémy Cabella and lone striker Jonathan David. Following a 4–3 home victory against Monaco on 23 October, only Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain had more possession in the domestic league.[51][52]

Managerial style[edit]

At Shakhtar, Roma and Lille, Fonseca preferred a 4–2–3–1 formation and an emphasis on dominating possession. In these teams, the player behind the centre-forward played as a second striker; Henrikh Mkhitaryan achieved 13 goals for Roma in 2020–21 from that position.[53][54][55]

In an interview for French media RMC about his Lille debut, Fonseca described his managerial style as "an offensive play in order to overcome the opponent, to settle in the opponent's half and to create many scoring chances."[56]

Personal life[edit]

Fonseca had a son and a daughter with his first wife.[2] On 29 May 2018, he married Ukrainian television personality and producer Katerina Ostroushko (born 1991) at Lake Como, Italy; their son was born the same year.[57][58] The family escaped Kyiv after the 2022 Russian invasion, travelling for 30 hours to Romania.[59]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 19 May 2024[60][61][62]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
1º Dezembro Portugal 1 July 2007 30 June 2008 34 13 11 10 39 32 +7 038.24
Odivelas Portugal 30 June 2008 1 July 2009 35 11 10 14 44 46 −2 031.43
Pinhalnovense Portugal 1 July 2009 7 June 2011 72 33 21 18 98 68 +30 045.83
Aves Portugal 7 June 2011 30 May 2012 38 16 16 6 49 29 +20 042.11
Paços de Ferreira Portugal 30 May 2012 9 June 2013 41 22 13 6 62 38 +24 053.66
Porto Portugal 10 June 2013 5 March 2014 37 21 9 7 69 31 +38 056.76
Paços de Ferreira Portugal 10 June 2014 1 July 2015 39 14 12 13 58 53 +5 035.90
Braga Portugal 1 July 2015 31 May 2016 57 29 15 13 90 58 +32 050.88
Shakhtar Donetsk Ukraine 31 May 2016 11 June 2019 139 103 19 17 295 112 +183 074.10
Roma Italy 11 June 2019 30 June 2021 102 53 21 28 193 141 +52 051.96
Lille France 29 June 2022 present 90 47 25 18 159 90 +69 052.22
Total 684 362 172 150 1,154 698 +456 052.92





Shakhtar Donetsk



  1. ^ a b c Paulo Fonseca at
  2. ^ a b Oliveira, Sara (21 September 2013). ""É magnífico o que tenho estado a viver", conta Paulo Fonseca" ["What I've been experiencing has been fantastic", tells Paulo Fonseca]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Fonseca" (in Portuguese). Glórias do Passado. 22 October 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Antes de ganhar o segundo nome, que é apanágio dos treinadores, Paulo era só o Fonseca, defesa central forte no jogo aéreo, mas a quem faltaram sempre alguma velocidade e mais oportunidades mas sobraram as lesões" [Before earning a surname, which is second nature to coaches, Paulo was just Fonseca, stopper with strong aerial ability, but who always lacked some speed and more opportunities but had injuries to spare.] (in Portuguese). António Tadeia. 5 March 2018. Archived from the original on 9 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Um mar de emoções no regresso dos heróis" [Sea of emotions in return of heroes]. Record (in Portuguese). 13 December 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  6. ^ "A carreira de Paulo Fonseca" [The career of Paulo Fonseca]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 10 June 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Paulo Fonseca é o novo treinador" [Paulo Fonseca is the new manager]. Record (in Portuguese). 7 June 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. ^ Frederico, Francisco; Pereira, Sérgio (14 May 2012). "P. Ferreira: Paulo Fonseca negociado para render Calisto" [P. Ferreira: Paulo Fonseca in negotiations to take over from Calisto] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Porto confirma favoritismo, vence o Paços de Ferreira e é tricampeão" [Porto confirm favourite status, beat Paços de Ferreira and are back-to-back-to-back champions] (in Portuguese). Globo Esporte. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Paulo Fonseca é o novo técnico do Paços de Ferreira" [Paulo Fonseca is the new manager of Paços de Ferreira] (in Portuguese). TSF. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  11. ^ ""Champions é o culminar de época de sucesso"" ["Champions puts icing on cake to successful season"]. O Jogo (in Portuguese). 11 May 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Paços de Ferreira 2013: Fazer história e cair para último" [Paços de Ferreira 2013: Make history and drop to last] (in Portuguese). Vavel. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  13. ^ Almeida, Germano (3 December 2014). "Nem de propósito: Paulo Fonseca, coragem e competência" [Not in one's wildest dreams: Paulo Fonseca, courage and competence] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Pacos packing a punch in Portugal". FIFA. 7 March 2013. Archived from the original on 10 March 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Paços vence Sporting (1–0) e aproxima-se do sonho" [Paços beat Sporting (1–0) and come closer to dream] (in Portuguese). F.C. Paços Ferreira. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Paços defende sonho frente ao Zenit" [Paços defend dream against Zenit] (in Portuguese). UEFA. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Benfica volta à final da Taça de Portugal" [Benfica return to Portuguese Cup final] (in Portuguese). UEFA. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  18. ^ Kundert, Tom (10 June 2013). "Paulo Fonseca appointed new Porto coach". PortuGOAL. Archived from the original on 26 November 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Porto appoint Fonseca". FIFA. 10 June 2013. Archived from the original on 5 March 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b Gillett, Stephen (10 August 2013). "Porto win Supertaça in style". PortuGOAL. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  21. ^ "FC Porto e Vitória de Guimarães disputam 35.ª edição em Aveiro" [FC Porto and Vitória de Guimarães challenge 35th edition in Aveiro] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Oficial: Paulo Fonseca saiu, Luís Castro é o treinador" [Official: Paulo Fonseca left, Luís Castro is the manager] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 5 March 2014. Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Fonseca: «Na última jornada seremos campeões»" [Fonseca: "In last matchday we will be champions"] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  24. ^ Pereira, Ana Isabel (10 June 2014). "Paços de Ferreira confirma regresso de Paulo Fonseca" [Paços de Ferreira confirm return of Paulo Fonseca] (in Portuguese). Porto 24. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Nacional goleia Paços de Ferreira, ambos falham Europa" [Nacional thrash Paços de Ferreira, both miss out on Europe] (in Portuguese). Rádio e Televisão de Portugal. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Braga oficializa Paulo Fonseca" [Braga make Paulo Fonseca official]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 1 July 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  27. ^ a b "Eventual saída de Paulo Fonseca deixa Braga "com pena"" [Eventual departure of Paulo Fonseca leaves Braga "feeling sorry"] (in Portuguese). Rádio Renascença. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  28. ^ a b Calaveiras, Carlos (22 May 2016). "Sp. Braga vence Taça de Portugal" [Sp. Braga win Portuguese Cup] (in Portuguese). Rádio Renascença. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  29. ^ "Sp. Braga conquista a Taça, 50 anos depois" [Sp. Braga conquer Cup, 50 years later]. Diário de Notícias (in Portuguese). 22 May 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Paulo Fonseca is Shakhtar head coach". Shakhtar Donetsk. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  31. ^ "Oficial. Paulo Fonseca confirmado no Shakhtar" [Official. Paulo Fonseca confirmed at Shakhtar] (in Portuguese). Rádio Renascença. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Paulo Fonseca diz que é "praticamente impossível fazer melhor" no Shakhtar" [Paulo Fonseca says it's "nearly impossible to do better" at Shakhtar] (in Portuguese). SAPO. 17 May 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  33. ^ "Ucrânia: Paulo Fonseca sagra-se tricampeão" [Ukraine: Paulo Fonseca crowned back-to-back-to-back champion] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  34. ^ a b c d "Paulo Fonseca: depois da dobradinha, o primeiro prémio" [Paulo Fonseca: after the double, the first award]. O Jogo (in Portuguese). 6 June 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  35. ^ Falkingham, Katie (13 March 2018). "Roma 1–0 Shakhtar Donetsk". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  36. ^ Emons, Michael (6 December 2017). "Shakhtar Donetsk 2–1 Manchester City". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  37. ^ "Paulo Fonseca: Shakhtar Donetsk boss celebrates win by wearing Zorro mask". BBC Sport. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  38. ^ "Fonseca to become new Roma head coach". A.S. Roma. 11 June 2019. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  39. ^ "Roma, zero vittorie contro le prime 10 della classifica di Serie A" [Roma, no wins against top 10 in Serie A table] (in Italian). Sky Sport. 21 December 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  40. ^ Stone, Simon (29 April 2021). "Manchester United 6–2 Roma". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  41. ^ Stone, Simon (6 May 2021). "Roma 3–2 Manchester United". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  42. ^ "Fonseca to leave Roma at end of season as Mourinho makes surprise return". ESPN. 4 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  43. ^ Stone, Simon (17 June 2021). "Paulo Fonseca: Tottenham end talks with Portuguese manager". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 June 2021.
  44. ^ Romano, Fabrizio [@FabrizioRomano] (17 June 2021). "Paulo Fonseca to Tottenham is 100% OFF" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 October 2022 – via Twitter.
  45. ^ McGrath, Mike (23 September 2021). "Paulo Fonseca interview: My Spurs move was torpedoed by a desire for defensive football". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  46. ^ Hobbs, Joshua (7 November 2021). "Paulo Fonseca 'thought he was' going to be Newcastle United boss after three interviews". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  47. ^ Whiley, Mark (2 November 2021). "Paul Merson highlights Paulo Fonseca problem amid Aston Villa claim". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  48. ^ "Paulo Fonseca est le nouvel entraîneur de Lille" [Paulo Fonseca is the new manager of Lille]. L'Équipe (in French). 29 June 2022. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  49. ^ Gillen, Sean (8 August 2022). "Paulo Fonseca off to 'perfect start' in France with Lille". PortuGOAL. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  50. ^ Bardet, Simon (9 October 2022). "Lille-Lens: David offre la victoire aux Dogues dans le derby du Nord" [Lille-Lens: David offers win to Dogues in northern derby] (in French). France Info. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  51. ^ Devin, Eric (24 October 2022). "Attack is proving the best form of defence for Lille and Paulo Fonseca". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  52. ^ Lejeune, Adrien (28 October 2022). "L'épisode 13: À Lyon, pour continuer de briller" [13th episode: At Lyon, to keep on shining] (in French). Lille OSC. Retrieved 28 October 2022.
  53. ^ Vardelli, Carlo Filippo (10 June 2021). "Is Paulo Fonseca the right fit to give Spurs a boost?". Eurosport. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  54. ^ Hewitt, Matty (20 October 2021). "Who is Paulo Fonseca? The double winning manager linked with Newcastle United". Evening Chronicle. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  55. ^ McCambridge, Ed (21 October 2021). "Who is Paulo Fonseca? Everything you need to know about the potential new Newcastle manager". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  56. ^ Vilas, Nicolas (17 February 2023). "Le LOSC, sa vision du football, son expérience en Ukraine... L'interview intégrale de Paulo Fonseca, coach de Lille" [LOSC, his vision of the game, his experience in Ukraine... Full interview with Lille coach Paulo Fonseca] (in French). RMC. Retrieved 18 February 2023.
  57. ^ Oliveira, Sara (24 February 2022). "Mulher do treinador Paulo Fonseca em Kiev: "O meu pequeno filho não merecia a guerra"" [Wife of manager Paulo Fonseca in Kiev: "My baby boy did not deserve war"]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  58. ^ Shrestha, Rezina (24 February 2022). "Everything we know about Paulo Fonseca's wife, Katerina Ostroushko". Showbiz Cast. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  59. ^ "Paulo Fonseca describes harrowing 30-hour escape from Ukraine". Sky Sports. 3 March 2022. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
  60. ^ "Paulo Fonseca". Zerozero. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  61. ^ a b c Paulo Fonseca coach profile at Soccerway
  62. ^ Paulo Fonseca management career statistics at Soccerbase Edit this at Wikidata
  63. ^ "VÍDEO: Paulo Fonseca conquista a Supertaça da Ucrânia" [VIDEO: Paulo Fonseca conquers Ukrainian Supercup] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 15 July 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2018.

External links[edit]