Aymeric Laporte (born 27 May 1994) is a French professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Athletic Bilbao mainly as a central defender.
He is only the second French player – after Bixente Lizarazu – to play for Athletic Bilbao, since signing in 2010 at the age of 16.
Born in Agen, Aquitaine, Laporte had Basque great-grandparents and began playing football and rugby at the age of five. He started training with SU Agen Football, joining Athletic Bilbao's youth system in 2010 from Aviron Bayonnais and going on to play for both its farm and reserve teams. On 28 November 2012 he made his debut with the main squad, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2–0 away win against Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona F.C. for the season's UEFA Europa League.
Laporte made his first La Liga appearance on 9 December 2012, appearing one minute in a 1–0 home win over Celta de Vigo. The following week he was inserted in the starting XI by manager Marcelo Bielsa, helping the Lions to the same result at RCD Mallorca, and was definitely promoted to the first-team shortly after, signing a new contract until 2015; on 14 January 2013, he was given the number 4 jersey previously worn by Ustaritz, and late in the month he renewed his contract, running until 2016 and with a €27.5 million release clause.
Laporte became an undisputed starter under new coach Ernesto Valverde, also being deployed as left back on occasion. He scored his first goal as a professional on 28 October 2013, netting the game's only at Getafe CF. At the end of the campaign, he was voted into the La Liga Team of the Year by the reporters of the Liga de Fútbol Profesional.
In June 2015, Laporte extended his link until 2019 with a release clause of €50 million. After losing the final of the Copa del Rey to FC Barcelona, he played both legs of the year's Supercopa de España triumph against the same opposition, Athletic's first silverware for 31 years.
On 13 June 2016, Laporte renewed his contract until 2020, with his buyout clause rising to an initial €65 million.
Laporte represented France at under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 levels, captaining each side. He was part of the under-19 team that came runners-up to Serbia in the 2013 UEFA European Championship in Lithuania, and was selected in the Team of the Tournament.
On 24 March 2016, in a 2017 European Under-21 Championship qualifier against Scotland in Angers, Laporte was stretchered off with a fracture and dislocation to his right fibula and ankle, concluding his season prematurely. Previously, in October 2015, he stated that he would consider representing Spain if rejected by France for UEFA Euro 2016.
In August 2016, at the behest of new national manager Julen Lopetegui, Laporte began the process of making himself eligible for Spain. A month later, he was called up to the senior France squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Netherlands in October, but did not play in either match.
|Athletic Bilbao||2012–13||La Liga||15||0||0||0||2||0||—||17||0|
- Supercopa de España: 2015
- UEFA European Under-19 Championship: Team of the Tournament 2013
- La Liga Team of the Year: 2013–14