Paulo Fonseca is preparing for his first season as Roma head coach, eager to prove himself in Serie A.
The Portguese coach was confirmed as Claudio Ranieri’s successor this week, and although this will be his first experience of coaching in one of Europe’s top five leagues, he has certainly influenced the careers of players who have gone on to better things.
Here is a lineup made up of the best players he has managed so far.
GK: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Ukraine’s number one for as long as time can remember, Pyatov has made more than 400 appearances for Shakhtar in all competitions. Only three players have played more for the club in their history. Even with the veteran in his mid-30s, Fonseca kept Pyatov as his first choice keeper for the duration of his three-year stay.
RB: Danilo (Porto)
Fonseca’s time with Porto lasted less than a full season, but he brushed shoulders with some players who would go on to become stars. One of those was full-back Danilo. The Brazilian made more than 30 appearances under Fonseca, before sealing a move to Real Madrid in 2015. He is now a Premier League champion with Manchester City.
CB: Willy Boly (Braga)
Another player who is now plying their trade in England, Wolves centre-back Boly was given his first real chance at a good level by Fonseca in the coach’s sole season with Braga. The Frenchman was given just short of 40 appearances in all competitions, which would earn him a move to Fonseca’s former side Porto the year after.
CB: Maicon (Porto)
No, not that one. Roma had a Maicon of their own in the 2013-14 season, but at the same time, a centre-back of the same name was impressing at Porto. It was his fifth season at the Estadio Do Dragao, the club he had joined as a 20-year-old in 2009.
LB: Alex Sandro (Porto)
A name that has become very familiar to Roma fans, Alex Sandro has been one of Serie A’s best full-backs over the past four years with Juventus. But his first opportunity in Europe actually came with Porto. Fonseca’s season at the club saw Sandro play more than in any of his other three campaigns in Portugal.
CM: Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Fred’s move to Manchester United hasn’t all gone to plan, but there was a reason that the Premier League giants paid more than £50m for him. The Brazilian midfielder flourished under Fonseca’s tutelage at Shakhtar, as he was given a platform to flourish on the international stage – even scoring a free kick against Roma in the Champions League in 2017-18. A reunion with Fonseca at Roma has been touted, and it could be in the best interests of all parties.
CM: Hector Herrera (Porto)
A player who arrived at Porto in the same summer as Fonseca, it’s fair to say that Herrera’s time in Portugal was far more successful. In six seasons with the club, who he is leaving this summer, he became captain and cemented his place as a regular international for Mexico. Now 29, he would be an inviting proposition on a free, but looks all set to join Atletico Madrid.
RW: Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Someone who has been heavily linked with following Fonseca to Roma, forward Taison has enjoyed seven successful years with Shakhtar. In Fonseca’s first season with the club, Taison produced his best ever goalscoring return in Europe, finding the net 10 times. While Fonseca was his club coach, Taison was also given his international debut by Brazil, for whom he has scored once in eight caps.
AM: Juan Quintero (Porto)
Signed in the same year as Fonseca was appointed at Porto, attacking midfielder Quintero could have been a bargain at €5m. A technically gifted player, he made over 20 appearances in his sole season with Fonseca, but his gametime dropped after, and he has since returned to South America, currently plying his trade with River Plate.
LW: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Now a Premier League regular with Everton, Bernard earnt his move to England after half a decade in Ukraine. Like his former teammate Taison, he was given a more cutting edge in front of goal when Fonseca took over, scoring more goals in his two seasons with Roma’s new coach than in the three that came before.
ST: Jackson Martinez (Porto)
Martinez’s career has not been the same since he moved from Porto to Atletico Madrid, and then on to China. But at Porto, he was one of the most efficient strikers on the planet. He netted more than 20 goals in the 2013-14 season that Fonseca was in charge for part of. Last season, he returned to Portugal with Portimonense, rediscovering some kind of scoring form at the age of 32.
Subs: Helton (Porto), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Ismaily (Shakhtar), Ricardo Quaresma (Porto), Facundo Ferreyra (Shakhtar)
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