In the long history of Real Madrid, there have been a lot of players who got the chance to play for the biggest football club on the planet. Some of those players left their mark at Madrid and became some of the most iconic legends of the club.
But there are some players, who had a great time with Real Madrid but can’t be called legends of this club. Their contribution to this club has been somewhat forgotten by a lot of fans. There have been a lot of such players from different eras, but today let’s remember three such forgotten stars of the 2010s, whose contribution to Los Blancos is truly worth remembering.
1. Fabio Coentrao
We all celebrate our club legend Marcelo as one of the greatest left-backs of all time, while some people like Toni Kroos rate the Brazilian as the greatest in his position. But there was a time when it looked like the generational full-back was going to become a second-choice left-back, to make way for another player. That one player who was able to challenge Marcelo was Fabio Coentrao, who’s the first name on this list.
He was signed from Benfica in the summer of 2011, for a fee of 30 million euros, amidst competition from Bayern Munich and Chelsea. At the time of his signing, people really didn’t know if he was signed as a backup to Marcelo, or as a replacement for the Brazilian.
Practically, he was a backup for Marcelo but got to play more than 2000 minutes in each of his first two seasons at Madrid. He was used well by his compatriot Jose Mourinho and was preferred to Marcelo in the Champions League.
The fact that Coentrao is a two-way full-back and is more responsible in defence when compared to Marcelo, made him the manager’s choice against attacking sides in the Champions League. He performed every time he was given an opportunity, which was something that challenged Marcelo, and made the Brazilian push his limits.
He was used against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in the 2014 Champions League semifinals, and he had the best games of his career in those two legs against the German club. He also started in the historic La Decima final against Atletico Madrid but was subbed off due to injury. After that season, he was rewarded with a contract extension until 2019.
At this point, it seemed like Coentrao had the upper hand over Marcelo in their competition for the left-back position. But the advantage was short-lived, as regular injuries made his 2014/15 season a disappointing one.
After that season, people started to wonder if Coentrao was really a Real Madrid player anymore, as he spent two seasons on loan at AS Monaco and Sporting Lisbon. In the 2016/17 season, he couldn’t even get to play 300 minutes at Madrid.
He finally left Real Madrid in 2018, as the club terminated his contract. He has retired from professional football now and is leading his life as a fisherman.
He isn’t a Real Madrid legend by any means but played a key role in Real’s Champions League triumph in 2013/14 and LaLiga title win in 2011/12. He had three great seasons at the club, and that contribution is worth remembering. After all, he wasn’t any average player. He was a talented and hardworking player.