Tuesday 17 October 2017

Player to watch (other than Ronaldo) Fabio Coentrao Portugal

Jose Mourinho paid €30m bringing Coentrao to Real Madrid this time last year, such was the reputation the left-back had built up at Benfica. Although the defender was caught smoking on a birthday night out in March and dropped, Mourinho regularly champions his cause.

The signing raised eyebrows at the time -- the 24-year-old would have to compete with Marcelo for a starting berth -- but after performing admirably in a utility role at the Bernabeu, Coentrao cemented his place as an integral member of the La Liga-winning squad. However, despite impressing, his defending has been the subject of some heavy questioning in the Spanish capital.

Coentrao loves to get forward, creating a useful option for the counter-attacking Ronaldo, and is likely to divert the attention of Spain's Alvaro Arbeloa. The full-back is afforded the luxury to join in because defensively he allows the sitting midfielder Miguel Veloso to cover a roaming opposition winger -- in this case David Silva.

How boldly Coentrao sticks to his guns against Spain this evening will be key to how effective Portugal can be in attack.

Irish Independent

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