A somewhat unsettled career finally blossomed as Coentrao sealed a move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2011 after a few impressive seasons with Benfica.

Prior to his wonderful campaign in 2009-10, Coentrao’s career had stagnated. Purchased by Benfica in 2007 following some dazzling performances for Rio Ave, he spent consecutive loan spells with Nacional, Real Zaragoza and his first club before reaching a crossroads. In the summer of 2009, though, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus shifted Coentrao into a defensive role and he responded with some brilliant performances for the Double-winning side.

After appearing in all four of Portugal’s games at the 2010 World Cup finals, earning rave reviews in the process, Coentrao signed a new deal with Benfica which tied him to the club until 2016. However a €30 million bid from Real Madrid saw him leave and begin a new chapter of his career.

Strengths: His move from midfield to defence means he is versatile, while pace, skill and impressive technique are further attributes in the armoury of this adventurous player, who possesses a dangerous cross and shot.

Weaknesses: The inconsistency earlier in his career is a concern, while his natural tendency to fly down the wing can see him exposed when playing in a defensive role.

Career high: The summer of 2010 when he won the domestic Double with Benfica and then earned a starting role with Portugal for the World Cup finals in South Africa.

Career low: A spell with Real Zaragoza in the first half of the 2008-09 season as he made only one appearance in Spain’s Segunda Division.

Style: Stylish, explosive, skilful. A dangerous full back.

Quotes: “What I want is to play for Real Madrid. They are the best club in the world, the only one I will leave Benfica for.” Fabio Coentrao, June 2011.

Trivia: During his time at Rio Ave, Coentrao earned the nickname ‘Figo das Caxinas’ in reference to the Portuguese legend.


  • Squad No: 15
  • Position: Defender
  • Age: 24
  • Birth Date: Mar 11, 1988
  • Birth Place: Vila do Conde, Portugal
  • Height: 1.78m
  • Weight: 66 kg

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