Fernando Manuel Silva Couto (Born 2 August 1969) is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a central defender. During a 21-year professional career he played in a number of top teams in Portugal, Spain and Italy. Appearing in nearly 600 official games and winning the double in each country, as well as three other UEFA club trophies.
At international level, Couto represented the Portuguese national team in 110 games, taking part in the 2002 World Cup as well as three European Championships.
Fernando Couto returned to Porto in 1990, being an instrumental defensive unit in the conquest of six titles during his four-year spell. He subsequently moved to Italy with Parma AC, scoring a career-best four goals in 27 games in his first season and adding the campaign’s UEFA Cup, in a 2–1 aggregate win against fellow Serie A side Juventus FC.
In summer 1996 Fernando Coutojoined FC Barcelona in Spain, alongside former Porto teammates Vítor Baía and manager Bobby Robson, as Luís Figo was also playing for the La Liga club. Regularly used by the English manager, he was less played by his successor Louis van Gaal, but managed to appear in one of the two European finals the Catalans won, the 1996–97 edition of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.
After two seasons at the Camp Nou, Fernando Couto left Barça and moved to Rome’s SS Lazio in late June 1998, alongside teammate Iván de la Peña. He appeared in 22 matches in his first year to help the club to the second place in the league, and appeared one minute in the final of the last Cup Winners’ Cup, in a 2–1 win against RCD Mallorca at the Villa Park in Birmingham.
In 2005, aged 36, Couto returned to Parma after eleven years, as Lazio was unable to match his wage demands for a contract renewal. After two seasons of regular use he only appeared in 17 games in 2007–08, with the Emilia-Romagna team also suffering top flight relegation; as his contract expired, he decided to retire from football.
Always as first-choice, Fernando Couto represented the nation at UEFA Euro 1996. Scoring the game’s only goal for the eventual quarterfinalists in a group stage contest against Turkey. Euro 2000 and the 2002 FIFA World Cup, partnering former Porto teammate Jorge Costa in the last two tournaments, the latter of which ended in group stage exit.
100 Caps for Portugal
Couto became the first Portuguese player to reach 100 caps on 11 October 2003. He was selected as captain for Euro 2004 which was played on home soil, starting the first game but eventually being relegated to the bench by Ricardo Carvalho as Portugal lost in the decisive match against Greece.
Primeira Liga: 1987–88, 1991–92, 1992–93
Taça de Portugal: 1987–88, 1990–91, 1993–94
Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: 1991, 1994
UEFA Cup: 1994–95
La Liga: 1997–98
Copa del Rey: 1996–97, 1997–98
Supercopa de España: 1996
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1996–97
UEFA Super Cup: 1997
Serie A: 1999–00
Coppa Italia: 1999–00, 2003–04
Supercoppa Italiana: 1998, 2000
UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1998–99
UEFA Super Cup: 1999
FIFA U-20 World Cup: 1989
UEFA European Championship: Runner-up 2004
Tags: European-Championship, World-Cup, Super-Cup, Winners-Cup, Suppercoppa-Italiana, Lazio, Parma, Barcelona, Copa-del-Rey, Primeira-Liga-Taca-de-Portugal