Jose Fonte says that winning Euro 2016 with Portugal would be the "cherry on top of the cake" after his rise from the bottom of League One to Europa League qualification and the semi-finals of the European Championships.
Whilst Portugal were knocked out of Euro 2012 by Spain on penalties, Fonte was still yet to make his Premier League debut, let alone his international debut.
Since then, Fonte has established himself as one of the most consistent centre backs in the league which has led him into Portugal's starting lineup.
Speaking ahead of Portugal's semi-final clash against Wales, the Saints skipper said that his rise from League One to playing in the Euros "means the world".
Fonte said: "It means everything, it means the world.
"Obviously I've always had the ambition and the desire and the belief that I could get there. As soon as I could get to the Premier League, I thought I'd be closer to the dream, to my target.
"Fortunately, we've been able to progress at Southampton to be a top-six or seven club in the Premier League, and that gave me the opportunity to be selected by the manager.
"It's something that I am proud of and something I'll always cherish, this time in Euro 2016."
Fonte said that winning Euro 2016 would be the "cherry on top of the cake" in his rise from League One but is expecting a "battle" against the surprise package of the tournament, Wales.
"This is going to be a battle, a very tough match.
"They never give up. Their mentality, the togetherness that they are showing and the system they play suits them well.
"They are where they are because they deserve it, so we expect a really tough game tomorrow.
"We've prepared for this, to be ready to play our game tomorrow and have our weapons at the ready."