Meira in 2009
|Full name||Fernando José da Silva Freitas Meira|
|Date of birth||5 June 1978|
|Place of birth||Guimarães, Portugal|
|Height||1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back / Defensive midfielder|
|1992–1993||Ribeira de Pena|
|1998–1999||→ Felgueiras (loan)||33||(0)|
|2009–2011||Zenit St. Petersburg||35||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
In his country, he represented most notably Vitória de Guimarães, also playing one year with Benfica. After a lengthy spell in Germany with Stuttgart, he went on to appear for teams in Turkey, Russia and Spain.
Early career / Benfica
Born in Guimarães, Meira began his professional career with hometown's Vitória Sport Clube, but only had one solid season with its first team, in 1999–2000 (precisely his last), as he appeared in 30 of his 53 games with the Minho club. In 1998 he was also loaned, to F.C. Felgueiras in the second division, being an essential defensive unit as the side narrowly missed out on promotion after finishing fifth.
In the 2000 summer Meira joined Portuguese top flight giants S.L. Benfica, for €4 million plus one player. He played 31 matches in his first season – 30 starts – and was also awarded team captaincy, but the Lisbon club did not win any silverware during his stint.
In January 2002, Meira signed for VfB Stuttgart in Germany, joining the Bundesliga outfit for €7.5 million – it was the club's record transfer fee until July 2007, when Stuttgart signed Ciprian Marica from FC Shakhtar Donetsk for €8m, and general manager Rolf Rüssmann described the player as a "trophy" signing, showing great ambitions for the future. He made his league debut on the 26th in a 3–0 home win over Hamburger SV, playing the entire game as a stopper.
On 23 February 2002 Meira scored his first goal for Stuttgart, in a 1–1 draw at F.C. Hansa Rostock where he also conceded a penalty which resulted in the opponents' goal. His second came on 7 April in a 2–0 away victory over SC Freiburg, and he finished his first year with 14 league appearances to help his side finish in eighth position.
In the 2002–03 season, Felix Magath fielded Meira in 31 league games, and only a suspension prevented him from featuring in all 34 as Stuttgart finished second behind FC Bayern Munich to achieve qualification honours to the UEFA Champions League. He missed two UEFA Cup matches, including the home defeat against Celtic in the fourth round's first leg, and found the net in the second round's 2–0 home win against Ferencvárosi TC.
For the 2006–07 campaign Meira was named captain by manager Armin Veh, making him the first Portuguese captain ever in the Bundesliga. He appeared in 20 matches and added three goals as the Baden-Württemberg club was crowned national champions for the first in 15 years, adding four in the runner-up campaign in the DFB-Pokal.
During his six-and-a-half-year spell with Stuttgart Meira made 230 official appearances, and scored 13 goals. He left the club in the 2008 summer, aged 30.
On 20 July 2008, at the end of the 2007–08 season, Stuttgart stripped Meira of the team captaincy and announced their intention to sell the player. Two days later he signed with Galatasaray SK in Turkey, for €4.5 million and a four-year contract.
Meira made his official team debut in the season's Turkish Super Cup, a 2–1 win victory against Kayserispor, but left the Istanbul outfit at the end of the campaign, with his team only ranking in fifth position in the Süper Lig.
In mid-March 2009, after reported interest from FC Zenit Saint Petersburg as the player grew unsettled at Galatasaray, Meira signed for the Russian club for €4.5 million, being awarded the No. 3 shirt previously worn by Martin Škrtel.
On 15 August 2011, aged 33, Meira signed with Real Zaragoza in Spain, after mutually terminating his contract with Zenit. He made his official debut on the 28th, starting and being booked in a 0–6 home loss against Real Madrid.
In his spell with the Aragonese Meira featured almost exclusively as a defensive midfielder, partnering Leonardo Ponzio. He rescinded his link on 1 February 2012, with the club ranking last in the league; late into the year, not being able to find a new club, he retired from football.
After having gained 20 caps for the under-21s, Meira made his full debut for the Portuguese full team in 2000. In 2004 he played in three games at the Summer Olympic Games, in an eventual group stage exit.
Meira was selected for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany: benefitting from injury to Jorge Andrade he played in all of Portugal's seven contests in the tournament, as the national team finished fourth. He continued to be a regular fixture at UEFA Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, appearing in three group stage matches but missing the quarterfinal clash against Germany, a 2–3 loss.
|1||4 June 2005||Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal||Slovakia||1–0||2–0||2006 World Cup qualification|
|2||17 August 2005||Estádio de São Miguel (Ponta Delgada), Ponta Delgada, Portugal||Egypt||1–0||2–0||Friendly|
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Portugal||League||Taça de Portugal||Taça da Liga||Europe||Total|
|Turkey||League||Türkiye Kupası||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Russia||League||Russian Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|2009||Zenit||Russian Premier League||22||1||2||0||—||2||0||26||1|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
- "Fernando Meira". Sky Sports. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
- "Fernando Meira: "É boa oportunidade para provar o que valho"" [Fernando Meira: "It's a good opportunity to prove my value"] (in Portuguese). Record. 4 January 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Bundesliga reaches cash crossroads". ESPN Soccernet. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Fernando Meira: "Era altura de buscar algo novo"" [Fernando Meira: "It was time to search for something new"] (in Portuguese). Record. 3 January 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Fernando Meira: "Trabalho com o objectivo de ir ao Mundial"" [Fernando Meira: "I work to play in the World Cup"] (in Portuguese). Record. 27 January 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Match details / line-up: VfB Stuttgart – Hamburger SV (Bundesliga 2001/2002)". World Football. 26 January 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Fernando Meira faz "penalty" e empata de cabeça" [Fernando Meira concedes "penalty" and ties with a header] (in Portuguese). Record. 23 February 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Fernando Meira marca golo" [Fernando Meira scores goal] (in Portuguese). Record. 8 April 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
- "Amanatidis inspires Stuttgart win". UEFA.com. 12 November 2002. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
- "Don't look back". Bundesliga. 2 August 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2009.
- "VfB Stuttgart crowned Bundesliga champions". RTÉ. 19 May 2007. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
- "Meira departs going". VfB Stuttgart. 20 July 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2008.[dead link]
- "Fernando Meira Galatasaray'da!" [Fernando Meira signs with Galatasaray!] (in Turkish). Galatasaray SK. 22 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- "Portugal defender Fernando Meira leaves Stuttgart for Galatasaray". International Herald Tribune. 23 July 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
- "Galatasaray won the Super Cup!". Galatasaray SK. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- "Meira headed for Zenit?". PortuGOAL. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- "Zenit’s Meira interest confirmed". PortuGOAL. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- "Zenit take Meira off Galatasaray's hands". UEFA.com. 11 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- "Fernando Meira chose shirt No 3" (in Russian). FC Zenit. 11 March 2009. Archived from the original on 17 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
- "Ronaldo gets Madrid show underway". ESPN Soccernet. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- Fernando Meira – FIFA competition record
- "Postiga on target for Portugal". UEFA.com. 18 August 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "Fernando Meira". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "Fernando Meira". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Fernando Meira at ESPN FC
- "Selecção distinguida pelo Duque de Bragança" [National team honoured by Duke of Bragança] (in Portuguese). Cristiano Ronaldo News. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
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