Born in Canada to a Czech mother and Portuguese father, Daniel Fernandes’ first steps on the footballing ladder were taken in the Canadian city of Vancouver. The goalkeeper subsequently crossed the Atlantic to join the youth system at FC Porto, where he began rising through the ranks aided by his imposing stature and bravery off his line.
Yet with Os Dragões’ No1 jersey firmly in the hands of ex-Barcelona and Portugal star Vitor Baia, Fernandes decided to try his luck elsewhere. His first stop was Spanish side Celta Vigo’s B team, followed by another brief sojourn at German outfit Jahn Regensburg, before finally making the breakthrough at Greek side PAOK.
Having featured sporadically for PAOK during the 2004/05 season, by the following campaign his safe hands and reliable displays helped him secure a starting berth and the affections of the club’s demanding supporters. After four full seasons in Salonika, in summer 2008 Fernandes joined German outfit Bochum where, after starting regularly throughout 2008/09, the 6’5” custodian lost his grip on the goalkeeper’s shirt come 2009/10.
A January 2010 loan switch back to Greek football with Iraklis ensued, which proved an inspired move. Indeed, the 26-year-old was even able to rediscover his best form in time to earn a spot in Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz’s 23-squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ - his first trip to a major finals.