Pantilimon with Romania, June 2014
|Full name||Costel Fane Pantilimon|
|Date of birth||1 February 1987|
|Place of birth||Bacău, Romania|
|Height||2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)|
|2011–2012||→ Manchester City (loan)||0||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 January 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 June 2017
Costel Fane Pantilimon (born 1 February 1987) is a Romanian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for English club Watford and the Romania national team. At six foot, eight inches (203 cm) tall, he is currently the tallest player in the Premier League.
He began his career at Politehnica Timișoara, becoming their first-choice goalkeeper. In 2011, he signed for Manchester City, initially on loan, as back-up for Joe Hart. Pantilimon was first choice for City in the 2013–14 League Cup, which they went on to win. He then remained in the Premier League with Sunderland, spending one-and-a-half seasons there before a transfer to Watford in 2016. He has been a full international for Romania since 2008.
Born in Bacău, Pantilimon started his career at Aerostar Bacău and got his share of limelight at the Romania national under-19 team before transferring to Politehnica Timișoara on 1 February 2006, his 19th birthday.
Initially, Pantilimon was Timișoara's second-choice goalkeeper, behind Marius Popa. In May 2008, however, the owner of the club, Marian Iancu, transferred Popa to the second team, and Pantilimon took the pole position. He made his debut in the Romanian Liga 1 against Dinamo București, in March 2007.
Pantilimon was part of the Timișoara team that defeated UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk in the qualifying rounds of the 2009–10 Champions League campaign. He played all 90 minutes of each leg.
Pantilimon's first start was a League Cup win against holders Birmingham City on 21 September 2011. His next match was on 26 October, against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the same competition, where City fielded a second-string team, although still comprehensively won 5–2. Pantilimon got his next Manchester City start during the 1–0 League Cup quarter-final win against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. In the Arsenal match, he was named Man of the Match, making two saves made in the first half. He started the third round of the FA Cup against Manchester United at the City of Manchester Stadium on 8 January 2012, saving Wayne Rooney's penalty but was unable to save the follow up; Manchester City lost the game 3–2.
Pantilimon's loan deal was made permanent for a fee in the region of £3 million. He was contracted to City until 2016. During the 2012–13 FA Cup, he kept four clean sheets in a row and managed an outstanding performance against Chelsea in the semi-final, conceding just one goal in five matches. In response to this performance, then City manager Roberto Mancini immediately promised that the Romanian would keep his place when the team return to Wembley Stadium to face Wigan Athletic on 11 May. However, he was a substitute in the final, with Joe Hart starting; Manchester City lost to Wigan 1–0. It was later revealed that Mancini had promised on the eve of the FA Cup Final that the Romanian would play, but then deputed the goalkeeping coach on match day morning to say there had been a change of plan.
Pantilimon was given his first start of the 2013–14 season for City in the Football League Cup third-round match at home to Wigan on 24 September 2013, which City won 5–0; manager Manuel Pellegrini praised him for keeping a clean sheet. Five weeks later, Pantilimon was also selected to start in the next League Cup match away to Newcastle United on 30 October; once again, he conceded no goals, as City won 2–0 and progressed to the last eight of the competition. Three days later, he made his Premier League debut at home to Norwich City, keeping his third clean sheet in a row in an emphatic 7–0 victory. On 7 November 2013, he started in Champions League game against CSKA Moscow that ended in City winning 5–2. He started his second Premier League game on 10 November 2013 away against Sunderland that ended in a 0–1 defeat.
On 2 March 2014, Pantilimon started for Manchester City in the 2014 League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. The team won 3–1 against Sunderland with goals from Yaya Touré, Samir Nasri and Jesús Navas.
Overall, Pantilimon made seven appearances during the 2013–14 Premier League season, keeping three clean sheets as Manchester City won a second league title in three years. He was also the team's first-choice goalkeeper for their League Cup and FA Cup matches.
On 16 June 2014, Pantilimon joined Sunderland on a free transfer from Manchester City. On 27 August, he made his first appearance for the club in the second round of the League Cup second round against Birmingham City, keeping a clean sheet in a 3–0 win at St Andrew's. Pantilimon started the season as back-up for Vito Mannone, but after poor performances in an 8–0 loss to Southampton and a 2–0 loss to Arsenal, the Italian was subsequently dropped and Pantilimon made his Premier League debut for Sunderland in a 3–1 win at Crystal Palace on 3 November 2014, thus becoming the club's first choice keeper for the rest of the season. He started the next season as first choice before losing his place to Mannone, eventually dropping to third choice behind Jordan Pickford.
On 19 January 2016, Pantilimon joined Premier League rivals Watford on a three-and-a-half-year deal, for a fee in the region of £500,000. He made his first appearance for the Hornets on 30 January in their FA Cup Fourth Round victory at Nottingham Forest. He also started the game in the Fifth Round against Leeds United. He kept clean sheets in both games. He made his Premier League debut for the Hornets in a forgettable 6–1 defeat at Liverpool on 6 November 2016, after Heurelho Gomes was injured during the first half.
Pantilimon is a former Romania under-21 international. He made his debut for the senior Romania national team on 19 November 2008, in a friendly against Georgia. On 31 May 2016, Pantilimon was included in the final 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2016, but did not appear in all matches in this tournament; Romanian coach Anghel Iordănescu used Ciprian Tătărușanu as the nation's first-choice.
- As of Statistics accurate as of 17 May 2017
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Poli Timișoara||2006–07||Liga I||8||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||10||0|
|Manchester City||2011–12||Premier League||0||0||1||0||4||0||0||0||5||0|
- Manchester City
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- "Premier League Player Profile Costel Pantilimon". Premier League. Barclays Premier League. 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- Bateson, Carl (22 March 2013). "West Ham’s List Of Replacements For Jussi Jaaskelainen". Forever West Ham. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
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- "Fernandinho comes to Shakhtar's rescue". UEFA.com. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
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- Taylor, Daniel (14 April 2013). "Manchester City resist late Chelsea siege to face Wigan in Cup final". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Brennan, Stuart (11 May 2013). "Manchester City 0 Wigan 1: Latics lift FA Cup". Manchester Evening News. Archived from the original on 16 January 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
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- "Manchester City 5–0 Wigan". BBC. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- Stephenson, Rebecca (31 October 2013). "Capital One Cup: Manuel Pellegrini praises Costel Pantilimon in Manchester City win". Sky Sports. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- Magowan, Alistair (30 October 2013). "Capital One Cup: Newcastle United 0–2 Manchester City (aet)". BBC. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
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- McNulty, Phil (2 March 2014). "Man City 3–1 Sunderland". BBC. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon happy with Vito Mannone rivalry". BBC. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- "Manchester City v Sunderland: Joe Hart prepared to sit out League Cup final is Manuel Pellegrini sticks with Costel Pantilimon". The Independent. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- "Costel Pantilimon: Sunderland sign ex-Man City keeper". BBC Sport. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
- Hampson, Andy (1 March 2014). "Birmingham 0–3 Sunderland". BBC. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- Sheen, Tom (3 November 2014). "Crystal Palace vs Sunderland team news: Vito Mannone and Wes Brown dropped to the bench after gaffes against Arsenal last week". The Independent. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Așa ceva nu se face! Ce a putut să spună antrenorul lui Sunderland despre Pantilimon, deși jucătorul a plecat de 5 luni de la echipă!". Gazeta Sporturilor. 16 April 2016.
- "Adevărata sumă a transferului lui Costel Pantilimon la Watford". Digi Sport. 2 February 2016.
- "Costel Fane Pantilimon". eu-football.info. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- "Player Profile of Costel Pantilimon". ESPN. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Games played by Costel Pantilimon in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
- "Games played by Costel Pantilimon in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
- "Drama gigantului din poarta Romaniei" (in Romanian). sport.ro. Retrieved 11 October 2010.
- Wheeler, Chris (10 May 2013). "Going out on a high: Pantilimon will seize big chance at Wembley". Mail Online. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Surulescu, Daniela (26 February 2013). "EXCLUSIV! Fostul portar al lui Poli, Costel Pantilimon s-a casatorit, la Dumbravita, langa Timisoara! VEZI FOTO si VIDEO!" (in Romanian). Opinia Timișoarei. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
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