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.