Fulham announced the signing of Fernando Amorebieta on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday 22nd May, with the defender penning a four-year deal.
Born in Venezuela, Amorebieta met Bilbao’s eligibility criteria as he had been raised locally since the age of two, while his parents are also of Basque origin. After spending time at Bilbao’s feeder team and their B club, Amorebieta made his debut for the first team midway through the 2005/06 season, aged 20.
He went on to play 254 times for the club and was an important part of the side that reached the Final of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League. Bilbao famously knocked out Manchester United en route, with Amorebieta playing the full 90 minutes of the Second Leg after missing the First Leg through suspension.
He also picked up two Copa del Rey runner-up medals during his time in the Basque Country as Bilbao twice lost to Barcelona in the Final, in 2009 and 2012.
Amorebieta represented Spain at youth level and was once called up by Vicente del Bosque to the full national side, but after not making it off the bench, he has since switched allegiance to his native Venezuela.
A robust, no-nonsense defender, Amorebieta has been known to frequent the referee’s notebook. Capable of playing at centre-half or left-back, he made 20 league appearances for Fulham in the 2013/14 season, scoring once. In notching - against Hull City - he became the first Venezuelan to score in the Premier League.
He made eight appearances for the Whites in 2014/15, before joining Middlesbrough on loan for the remainder of the campaign in March. Scored the winner in the First Leg of the Play-Off Semi-Final against Brentford, and was an unused substitute at Wembley as Boro lost 2-0 to Norwich City.
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