Jose Fonte is right now having a really good time at Lille.
Leaving Southampton in 2017 for West Ham, the defender then moved to China with Dalian Yifang, but was only there for a few months before deciding a return to European football was the best way forward.
The 35 year old is a regular for the Ligue 1 club and has scored in each of his past two matches. On Sunday, he managed to get one of the goals as Lille took PSG to pieces in a shock 5-1 victory.
Before that, he spoke to L’Equipe and one of the questions the French newspaper asked was about leaders he’s played with during his long football career.
Asked who stood-out for their ability to lead a team, Fonte brought a former Saints teammate into the conversation: “I had a few, but there are two that really impressed me. There is first a Southampton goalkeeper, Kelvin Davis. He communicated a lot. He was behind me, always giving me information.
The second is Cristiano Ronaldo. He is a leader by example. He works very hard, is an example of professionalism. This is the type of leader who does the job on the ground. He puts the responsibilities on his back, and he will do the right thing. And he shows you the way, always to train hard, to score goals. But he does not talk much or give information as a defender can, obviously.”
Kelvin Davis was with Southampton for a decade, achieving 300 games with the club and being awarded a testimonial.
He certainly left a mark on Fonte, and wasn’t the only one.
The Lille player went on to praise two manager he had at Southampton: “I was lucky to have good coaches. I will always remember Pochettino, which was a real source of inspiration, Ronald Koeman also. But the leader I have to talk about is Fernando Santos (Portugal). When he speaks, you believe in him. It’s amazing, he had so much confidence in us, the players, during the Euros… Sorry, I had to tell you about that, even if you are French!”