10 Things to Know about Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca is the new Roma manager, after his appointment was made official on Tuesdasy.

Don’t know too much about the Portuguese tactician?

Here are 10 facts and figures to get you up to speed on his life and career to date…

1. Paulo Alexander Rodrigues Fonseca was born on 5 March 1973 in Nampula, Mozambique. Then a colony of Portugal, the country gained independence two years later, in 1975.

2. Fonseca remained in Africa until he was 14, before moving with his family to Barreiro – a small city of 80,000 people in Setubal, not far from Lisbon.

3. His football career began in Barreiro too. An imposing central defender, he joined Barreirense in 1991 – going on to make 91 appearances for the club across four seasons. His displays earned him a move to Porto, although he never made an appearance for the team. Sent out on loan on multiple occasions he would nevertheless carve out a solid career for himself, making over 100 top-flight appearances in his native country.

4. His final club as a player, Estrela de Amadora, became his first club as a coach – as he worked with the youth team for two years. A long apprenticeship among the lower leagues of Portuguese football followed, culminating in a notable job at Desportivo Aves. Their the coach made a national name for himself, bringing the third division side to the quarter-finals of the Portuguese Cup in successive seasons – and getting them promoted to the second division too.

5. In 2012 Fonseca got the call from the Portuguese top flight – taking over at Pacos de Ferreira. A third-place finish there, bringing with it a Champions League play-off berth, only enhanced his reputation.

6. After a frustrating spell at Porto – which nevertheless brought his first major trophy as a coach, the 2013 Portuguese Super Cup – a second successful spell at Pacos earned him another shot at a ‘big’, as he took over at Braga. There he won the Portuguese Cup in 2016, beating old side Porto on penalties in the process.

7. Oddly enough, this is not the first time Fonseca has joined a club that he recently lost to in European competition (Shakhtar being beaten by Roma in the 2017-18 Champions League). The Portuguese actually joined Shakhtar from Braga in the summer of 2016, shortly after seeing his side beaten by the Ukrainians in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

8. At Shakhtar, Fonseca spent three seasons – winning the Ukrainian league and cup double on all three occasions.

9. To general football fans, Fonseca might be most famous for one thing – the Mask of Zorro. The coach famously donned the mask – and, indeed, the full outfit – for his post-match press conference after beating Manchester City in the Champions League. The coach had said he would do it if the team won, and was as good as his word. “It was my favourite outfit as a kid,” he explained. “As a kid we were poor, and if you were poor Zorro was the easiest mask to create for Carnival.”

10. Outside of football, Fonseca has interest in both music and horses. He is also active on social media; on Twitter (@PFonsecaCoach) and Instagram (@paulofonseca_oficial).