Steven Defour

Last updated

Steven Defour
Dinamo-Anderleht (4).jpg
Defour playing for Anderlecht in 2015
Personal information
Full nameSteven Arnold Defour [1]
Date of birth (1988-04-15) 15 April 1988 (age 30) [2]
Place of birth Mechelen, Belgium
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in) [2]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 16
Youth career
1993–1997 Zennester Hombeek
1997–2004 Mechelen
Senior career*
2004–2006 Genk 30 (1)
2006–2011 Standard Liège 127 (13)
2011–2014 Porto 65 (3)
2014–2016 Anderlecht 63 (9)
2016– Burnley 51 (2)
National team
2003 Belgium U15 5 (1)
2003–2004 Belgium U16 11 (1)
2004–2005 Belgium U17 11 (1)
2005 Belgium U18 1 (0)
2006–2017 Belgium 52 (2)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 21:29, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

Steven Arnold Defour (born 15 April 1988) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Burnley.

Association football team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Midfielder association football position played on both ends of the field

midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield.

Premier League Association football league in England

The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League (EFL).


In his senior career he played for Genk, Standard Liège, Porto, Anderlecht and Burnley, winning nine honours with the second and third teams combined.

K.R.C. Genk association football club in Belgium

Koninklijke Racing Club Genk is a Belgian professional football club based in the city of Genk in Belgian Limburg. Racing Genk plays in the Belgian Pro League and have won three championship titles; in 1998–99, in 2001–02 and in 2010–11. They also won four Belgian Cups, most recently in 2008–09 and in 2012–13. They qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage in the 2002–03 and 2011–12 seasons.

Standard Liège Belgian association football club

Royal Standard de Liège, commonly referred to as Standard Liège, is a Belgian football club from the city of Liège. They are one of the most successful clubs in Belgium, having won the Belgian league on ten occasions, most recently in 2007–08 and 2008–09. They have been in the top flight without interruption since 1921, longer than any other Belgian side. They have also won eight Belgian Cups, and in 1981–82 they reached the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup, which they lost 2–1 against Barcelona.

FC Porto association football club based in Porto, Portugal

Futebol Clube do Porto, MHIH, OM, commonly known as FC Porto or simply Porto, is a Portuguese sports club based in Porto. It is best known for the professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top flight of Portuguese football.

Defour earned his first cap for Belgium in 2006, and represented the nation in the 2014 World Cup.

Cap (sport) sports game

In sport, a cap is a metaphorical term for a player's appearance in a game at international level. The term dates from the practice in the United Kingdom of awarding a cap to every player in an international match of association football. In the early days of football, the concept of each team wearing a set of matching shirts had not been universally adopted, so each side would distinguish itself from the other by wearing a specific sort of cap.

Belgium national football team mens national association football team representing Belgium

The Belgian national football team has officially represented Belgium in association football since their maiden match in 1904. The squad is under the global jurisdiction of FIFA and is governed in Europe by UEFA—both of which were co-founded by the Belgian team's supervising body, the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA). Periods of regular Belgian representation at the highest international level, from 1920 to 1938, from 1982 to 2002 and again from 2014 onwards, have alternated with mostly unsuccessful qualification rounds. Most of Belgium's home matches are played at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

2014 FIFA World Cup 20th FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil in 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup was the 20th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men's national football teams organised by FIFA. It took place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014, after the country was awarded the hosting rights in 2007. It was the second time that Brazil staged the competition, the first being in 1950, and the fifth time that it was held in South America.

Club career

Racing Genk

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.

Mechelen Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Mechelen is a city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. The municipality comprises the city of Mechelen proper, some quarters at its outskirts, the hamlets of Nekkerspoel (adjacent) and Battel, as well as the villages of Walem, Heffen, Leest, Hombeek, and Muizen. The Dyle flows through the city, hence it is often referred to as the Dijlestad.

KV Mechelen Belgian association football club

Yellow Red Koninklijke Voetbalclub Mechelen, often simply called KV Mechelen or KVM, or by their former French name FC Malinois, is a Belgian professional football club based in Mechelen in the Antwerp province. KV Mechelen plays in the Belgian Pro League. They have won four Belgian championships and one Belgian Cup, as well as the 1987–88 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1988 European Super Cup. They collected all of their honours in the 1940s and in the 1980s.

The 2004-05 season of the Belgian First Division began on August 6, 2004 and ended on May 23, 2005. Club Brugge became champions on May 15, 2005 after a decisive game against long-time rivals Anderlecht. The season was full of suspense as the champions and the relegated teams were only known on the 33rd matchday. Furthermore, the 3rd place had to be decided on a test-match, a fact that had not occurred recently.

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. [3] [4] [5]

UEFA international sport governing body

The Union of European Football Associations is the administrative body for association football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe, although several member states are primarily or entirely located in Asia. It is one of six continental confederations of world football's governing body FIFA. UEFA consists of 55 national association members.

AFC Ajax Dutch association football team

Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, also known as AFC Ajax, Ajax Amsterdam or simply Ajax, is a Dutch professional football club based in Amsterdam, that plays in the Eredivisie, the top tier in Dutch football. Historically, Ajax has been the most successful club in the Netherlands, with 33 Eredivisie titles and 18 KNVB Cups. It has continuously played in the Eredivisie, since its inception in 1956 and, along with Feyenoord and PSV, it is one of the country's "big three" clubs that have dominated that competition.

A gentlemen's agreement or gentleman's agreement is an informal and legally non-binding agreement between two or more parties. It is typically oral, though it may be written, or simply understood as part of an unspoken agreement by convention or through mutually beneficial etiquette. The essence of a gentlemen's agreement is that it relies upon the honor of the parties for its fulfillment, rather than being in any way enforceable. It is, therefore, distinct from a legal agreement or contract,

Standard Liège

Defour joined Standard on a five-year deal, [6] 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.

Captain (association football) team captain of an association football team

The team captain of an association football team, sometimes known as the skipper, is a team member chosen to be the on-pitch leader of the team: it is often one of the older/or more experienced members of the squad, or a player that can heavily influence a game or have good leadership qualities. The team captain is usually identified by the wearing of an armband.

The 2007–08 season of the Belgian First Division began on August 3, 2007 and concluded on May 10, 2008. The championship was decided in the 31st round on April 20, 2008, when Standard Liège beat Anderlecht 2–0 at home. For Standard it was their 9th League Championship, but just their first in the last 25 years. At the other end of the table, Brussels and Sint-Truiden were relegated on matchdays 31 and 32 respectively. Behind Standard, Anderlecht and Club Brugge fought until the end for the second place which gives right to a place in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League 2008-09. On the penultimate matchday, Anderlecht won against Brugge with 2–0 which proved decisive in the end for them to become second.

Sérgio Conceição Portuguese footballer

Sérgio Paulo Marceneiro da Conceição is a Portuguese former footballer who played mostly as a right winger and is the manager of Porto.

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, [7] 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"; [8] eventually, nothing came of it.


Defour playing for Porto in 2013 OM - FC Porto - Valais Cup 2013 - Steven Defour.jpg
Defour playing for Porto in 2013

On 15 August 2011, Portuguese club FC Porto agreed with Standard Liége [9] to buy the sporting rights of Defour for 6 million, and he signed a five-year contract. [10] [11] 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). [12] 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 at Málaga CF, as the northerners lost 0–2 at La Rosaleda Stadium and 1–2 on aggregate. [13]


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, [14] and the banner received criticism from both the Royal Belgian Football Association and the league. [15]


On 16 August 2016, Defour signed for Premier League club Burnley for a club-record transfer fee of £8 million. [16] [17] He made his competitive debut four days later, starting in a 2–0 home win over Liverpool in which he helped create the second goal by Andre Gray but was substituted early in the second half due to a lack of fitness. [18] On 10 September, also at Turf Moor, he scored his first goal for his new team to open a 1–1 draw with fellow promotee Hull City, and was praised after the match by manager Sean Dyche. [19]

International career

Defour lining-up for Belgium in 2011 Steven Defour - Belgium.jpg
Defour lining-up for Belgium in 2011

Defour made his debut for the Belgian senior team in May 2006, aged just 18. [20] He scored his first goal on 6 September 2008, in a 3–2 win against Estonia at his club ground the Stade Maurice Dufrasne for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. [21]

Defour scored once in three appearances in qualification for the 2014 World Cup, opening a 2–0 win away to Scotland on 6 September 2013. [22] He was selected for the finals in Brazil by manager Marc Wilmots, [23] making 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. [24]

On 25 May 2018, 30-year-old Defour announced his retirement from international football. [25]

Career statistics


As of match played 26 January 2019 [26]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueNational CupLeague Cup Europe OtherTotal
Genk 2004–05 Belgian First Division 40000040
2005–06 Belgian First Division261201 [lower-alpha 1] 0291
Standard Liège 2006–07 Belgian First Division294714 [lower-alpha 2] 0405
2007–08 Belgian First Division241313 [lower-alpha 1] 0302
2008–09 [27] Belgian Pro League3341010 [lower-alpha 3] 01 [lower-alpha 4] 0454
2009–10 [27] Belgian Pro League131003 [lower-alpha 5] 01 [lower-alpha 4] 0171
2010–11 [27] Belgian Pro League27350323
2011–12 [27] Belgian Pro League100010
Porto 2011–12 [27] Primeira Liga 24121308 [lower-alpha 6] 000372
2012–13 [27] Primeira Liga25220517 [lower-alpha 7] 11 [lower-alpha 8] 0404
2013–14 [27] Primeira Liga16061409 [lower-alpha 9] 01 [lower-alpha 8] 0361
Anderlecht 2014–15 [27] Belgian Pro League296416 [lower-alpha 10] 0397
2015–16 [27] Belgian Pro League322119 [lower-alpha 5] 0423
2016–17 [27] Belgian First Division A212 [lower-alpha 7] 041
Burnley 2016–17 [27] Premier League 2113100242
2017–18 [27] Premier League2410010251
2018–19 [27] Premier League6020100090
Career total336283871416214045437
  1. 1 2 Appearances in UEFA Cup
  2. Two appearances in UEFA Champions League, two in UEFA Cup
  3. Two appearances in UEFA Champions League, eight in UEFA Cup
  4. 1 2 Appearance in Belgian Super Cup
  5. 1 2 Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  6. Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, two in UEFA Europa League
  7. 1 2 Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  8. 1 2 Appearance in Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira
  9. Five appearances in UEFA Champions League, four in UEFA Europa League
  10. Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, two in UEFA Europa League


Appearances and goals by national team and year [28]
National teamYearAppsGoals
Belgium 200630

International goals

As of 13 October 2014 (Belgium score listed first, score column indicates score after each Defour goal) [28]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
16 September 2008 Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liège, Belgium15Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 2–13–2 2010 World Cup qualification
26 September 2013 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland39Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 1–02–0 2014 World Cup qualification


Defour (left) with Belgian teammates Kevin Mirallas (middle) and Marouane Fellaini before a friendly against the United States on 29 May 2013 Defour Mirallas Fellaini v USA.jpg
Defour (left) with Belgian teammates Kevin Mirallas (middle) and Marouane Fellaini before a friendly against the United States on 29 May 2013


Standard Liège [29]

Porto [29]


Related Research Articles

Anthony Vanden Borre Belgian footballer

Anthony Henri Vanden Borre is a Belgian footballer who last played as a defender for TP Mazembe in DR Congo. Vanden Borre has previously played for clubs in Belgium, Italy, England and France. He won 28 caps for the Belgium national team. He is capable of playing as both a right back and a right winger.

Arie Haan Dutch footballer and manager

Arend "Arie" Haan ˈɦaːn]; born 16 November 1948) is a Dutch football manager and former player who played as a midfielder. He scored 6 goals in 35 matches for the Dutch national squad of the 1970s. At club level he enjoyed a successful career with AFC Ajax, R.S.C. Anderlecht, Standard Liège and PSV Eindhoven.

Jelle Van Damme Belgian footballer

Jelle François Maria Van Damme is a Belgian international footballer who can play as a central defender, left-back or left sided midfielder. He currently plays for Royal Antwerp, and has previously played for clubs in Belgium, England, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. He also has over 30 caps for the Belgium national football team.

The 2006–07 season is the 104th competitive season in Belgian football.

Dániel Tőzsér association football player

Dániel Tőzsér is a Hungarian footballer who plays for Debrecen and the Hungarian national football team as a midfielder. Tőzsér is left-footed and plays central, defensive or on the left side of midfield. He is known for his impressive free-kick abilities.

Igor de Camargo footballer

Igor Albert Rinck de Diver Camargo, known as Igor de Camargo, is a Belgian footballer who plays for Mechelen as a striker.

Jelle Vossen Belgian association football player

Jelle Vossen is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Club Brugge K.V.

Sinan Bolat Turkish footballer

Sinan Bolat is a Turkish football goalkeeper who plays for Royal Antwerp. He has played for Turkey both at youth level and senior level.

Axel Witsel Belgian association football player

Axel Laurent Angel Lambert Witsel is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for German club Borussia Dortmund. During his play for the Belgium national team, he came into the first team as a right-winger, and can also play attacking midfielder, though his natural position is as a central midfielder.

Mehdi Carcela footballer

Mehdi François Carcela-González is a Moroccan-Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Standard Liège and the Morocco national team.

Eliaquim Mangala French association football player

Eliaquim Hans Mangala is a French professional footballer who plays as a centre back for English Premier League club Manchester City and the France national team.

Nikos Karelis Greek footballer

Nikolaos "Nikos" Karelis is a Greek professional footballer who plays for PAOK FC on loan from K.R.C. Genk. Karelis is a left-footed forward.

Paul-José MPoku Congolese footballer

Paul-José M'Poku Ebunge is a Congolese footballer who plays as a winger for Standard Liège.

Standard Liège did not manage to win a trophy in the 2006–07 season, falling short to Club Brugge in the domestic cup final, and finishing some way behind champions Anderlecht in the domestic league. The main disappointment was failing to qualify for either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Cup group stages, which saw Johan Boskamp being sacked already on 30 August. He was then replaced by legendary goalkeeper Michel Preud'homme for the remainder of the season.

Standard Liège lost just one match all league season, winning the Belgian First Division for the ninth time in club history. The season marked the breakthrough of teenage midfield duo Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour, while strikers Milan Jovanović and Dieumerci Mbokani were right up there in terms of the top scoring charts of the domestic top division. The UEFA Cup run ended early, being knocked out to eventual winners Zenit Saint Petersburg in the last qualifying round.

Dennis Praet Belgian footballer

Dennis Praet is a Belgian footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for U.C. Sampdoria.

Youri Tielemans Belgian association football player

Youri Marion A. Tielemans is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Leicester City of the Premier League, on loan from Ligue 1 club Monaco, and the Belgium national team.

Leander Dendoncker Belgian association football player

Leander Dendoncker is a Belgian international footballer who plays as either a defender or defensive midfielder, for Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Anderlecht.

Răzvan Gabriel Marin is a Romanian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Belgian club Standard Liège and the Romania national team.


  1. "England 1 Belgium 0 [1–0]". England Football Online. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Steven Defour". AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  3. "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.
  4. "Transfer Defour naar Ajax van de baan" [Defour's transfer to Ajax not happening] (in Dutch). Voetbal International. 7 June 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  5. "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.
  6. "Standard neemt Steven Defour over" [Standard signs Steven Defour] (in Dutch). Voetbal België. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  7. Defour ready to make next step; ESPN Soccernet, 26 October 2010
  8. Defour ready to make Manchester United move; Talksport, 26 October 2010
  9. "Comunicado" [Announcement](PDF) (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 15 August 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  10. "Comunicado" [Announcement](PDF) (in Portuguese). FC Porto. 16 August 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  11. "FC Porto deal for Defour". ESPN Soccernet. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
  12. "Porto extend Dinamo losing streak". UEFA. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  13. "Santa Cruz sends Málaga into last eight". UEFA. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  14. "Anderlecht's Steven Defour sees red over Standard Liège fans' banner". The Guardian . 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  15. "Standard Liege: Steven Defour sent off after fans' horror banner". BBC Sport. 25 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  16. "Burnley: Defour joins the Clarets". Burnley F.C. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  17. "Steven Defour: Burnley sign Belgium midfielder from Anderlecht". BBC Sport. 16 August 2016. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  18. "Keane, Defour and Gray stand out as Burnley stun Liverpool". ESPN FC. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  19. "Defour is cheap as chips – Dyche". BBC Sport. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  20. "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.
  21. "Defour a déjà marqué contre l'Estonie: "Ah bon? J'avais oublié"" [Defour already scored against Estonia: "Ah good? I had forgotten"] (in French). RTBF. 12 November 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  22. "Scotland 0–2 Belgium". BBC Sport. 6 September 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  23. "Belgium World Cup 2014 squad". The Daily Telegraph . 4 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  24. "Koreans crash to ten-man Belgium". FIFA. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  25. "Steven Defour to focus on Burnley after international retirement". Lancashire Telegraph . 25 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  26. Steven Defour at ESPN FC
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "S. Defour". Soccerway. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  28. 1 2 "Steven Defour". European Football. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  29. 1 2 "S. Defour –Trophies". Soccerway. Perform Group. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  30. "Belgium – Player of the Year Awards". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation . Retrieved 26 April 2017.