Defour playing for Anderlecht in 2015
|Full name||Steven Arnold Defour|
|Date of birth||15 April 1988|
|Place of birth||Mechelen, Belgium|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 May 2016.
Born in Mechelen, Defour played youth football with local KV Mechelen, moving to K.R.C. Genk in 2004 due to the club's financial difficulties. He made his Pro League debut during the 2004–05 season and, at just 17, became first-choice, finishing the 2005–06 campaign with 26 games and one goal to help his team to the fifth position.
When Genk failed to qualify for European competition, Defour tried to move to AFC Ajax in the summer of 2006. Genk, enraged by earlier reports that the Dutch team had approached the player to broker a deal without their consent, did not accept the proposed transfer fee and after protracted negotiations Ajax pulled out of the deal. Defour tried to force a transfer by threatening to leave, using a Belgian law that allowed professional athletes on fixed-term contracts to leave their employers before the end of the stipulated term, but Ajax did not express a renewed interest in his services and he ended up signing for Standard Liège for a much-reduced transfer fee, effectively breaking a gentlemen's agreement between Belgian sides not to sign under-contract players using the aforementioned law.
Defour joined Standard on a five-year deal, being appointed team captain at the start of his second year after taking over from Portugal's Sérgio Conceição – he was just 19 years old. He received the Belgian Golden Shoe at the end of the season in the process, leading the Reds to their first league title in 25 years.
In late 2009, shortly after scoring four goals in 31 games to help Standard renew its domestic supremacy, Defour broke his right foot. During his period of recovery he received a letter from Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, wishing him all the best in his recovery, and this led to persistent rumours of a switch to the English club, but he refuted these by saying "I do know that Manchester United are monitoring me – if everything goes well and I continue playing as I am, there is a better chance of me leaving than there was at the start of the season"; eventually, nothing came of it.
On 15 August 2011, Portuguese club FC Porto agreed with Standard Liége to buy the sporting rights of Defour for €6 million, and he signed a five-year contract. He finished his first year with 37 appearances all competitions comprised and added two goals, helping his new team win the Primeira Liga championship.
On 18 September 2012, Defour netted Porto's second goal against GNK Dinamo Zagreb, in the season's Champions League group stage (2–0 away win). On 13 March of the following year, for the same competition but in the round-of-16, he was booked twice and subsequently sent off in the 49th minute of the second leg of the tie with Málaga CF, as the northerners lost it 0–2 at La Rosaleda Stadium and 1–2 on aggregate.
On 13 August 2014, Defour signed a five-year deal with R.S.C. Anderlecht, for €6 million. On 25 January of the following year, when playing at Standard Liège, he was sent off for deliberately kicking the ball at home fans who had unfurled a banner depicting his severed head under the slogan "Red or Dead". His ejection caused the visiting supporters to rip out their seats and throw them onto the pitch, and the banner received criticism from both the Royal Belgian Football Association and the league.
Defour was also selected for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil by manager Marc Wilmots. He made his debut in the competition on 26 June in the third group stage match against South Korea, after Belgium had already won their first two outings and sealed qualification, and was sent off in the last minute of the first half of the eventual 1–0 success after a rash tackle on Kim Shin-wook.
|1||6 September 2008||Maurice Dufrasne, Liège, Belgium||Estonia||3–2||Won||2010 World Cup qualification|
|2||6 September 2013||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland||Scotland||2–0||Won||2014 World Cup qualification|
- Standard Liège
- Belgian Golden Shoe: 2007
- "England 1 Belgium 0 [1–0]". England Football Online. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Defour 'slachtoffer' van 33 jaar oude vete" [Defour 'victim' of 33-year-old feud]. Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). 5 May 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Transfer Defour naar Ajax van de baan" [Defour's transfer to Ajax not happening]. Voetbal International (in Dutch). 7 June 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Steven Defour verbreekt contract bij Genk" [Steven Defour breaks contract with Genk]. Het Belang van Limburg (in Dutch). 16 June 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Standard neemt Steven Defour over" [Standard signs Steven Defour] (in Dutch). Voetbal België. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Defour ready to make next step; ESPN Soccernet, 26 October 2010
- Defour ready to make Manchester United move; Talksport, 26 October 2010
- "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 15 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "FC Porto deal for Defour". ESPN Soccernet. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Porto extend Dinamo losing streak". UEFA.com. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Santa Cruz sends Málaga into last eight". UEFA.com. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Anderlecht’s Steven Defour sees red over Standard Liège fans’ banner". The Guardian. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Standard Liege: Steven Defour sent off after fans' horror banner". BBC Sport. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "René Vandereycken roept negen debutanten op" [René Vandereycken calls up nine first-timers]. Het Belang van Limburg (in Dutch). 6 May 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Belgium World Cup 2014 squad". The Daily Telegraph. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "Koreans crash to ten-man Belgium". FIFA.com. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
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