Tuesday 12 December 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

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport