Real Madrid player on loan in Portuguese league!

Fábio Coentrão yesterday completed his transfer to Sporting, signing a one-season loan contract from Real Madrid.

In a similar move to the deal that brought Nani to Alvalade from Manchester United three years ago, his parent club will be picking up most of Coentrão’s wages. The Spanish giants are reported to be footing between 75% and 90% of his salary, although the exact details have not been released.

The arrival of Coentrão completes a busy week in the transfer market for Sporting, with the Lisbon club also signing Portugal U21 captain Bruno Fernandes and Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia, as well as having Barcelona centre-back Jérémy Mathieu training at the club on a trial basis.

Footballers in Portugal are reporting for work as their clubs begin their pre-season schedules, with Sporting having significantly bolstered their squad as they attempt to end a 15-year barren spell without winning the Primeira Liga.

Earlier in the summer the Lions secured Italian right-back Cristiano Piccini and Brazilian midfielder Mattheus Oliveira, but it is the latest trio of signings that will most excite Sporting fans.

There is no doubting the pedigree of Coentrão, Doumbia and Fernandes, although the first two can be considered high risk. Coentrão was widely touted as one of the best left-backs in the world after his stunning performances for Portugal in the 2010 World Cup and for Benfica, and he was subsequently sold to Real Madrid for €30 million.

Injury concerns

But bad luck with injuries combined with the majestic form of Brazilian Marcelo prevented the winger-turned defender from making his mark at the Bernabeu. In five seasons in the Spanish capital he made 106 appearances for the current Champions League holders in all competitions. He was also loaned to Monaco in 2015/16, playing 19 times for the French club, before that spell was cut short by injury. Indeed, worryingly for Sporting fans, Coentrão has been badly afflicted by injuries in recent times, playing only 25 matches in the last two seasons. The player himself will highly motivated to overcome his fitness problems as he attempts to get back into the reckoning for Portugal ahead of next summer’s World Cup.

The move triggered a stormy reaction on Social Media, with the left-back having stated in the past that he would only return to Portugal if it was with his former club Benfica. The torrent of abuse sent his way by Eagles fans only increased when he declared on Sporting’s in-house TV channel that: “I have worn many shirts, but I was always made of Sporting.”

The club’s official twitter account subsequently used the phrase in hashtag form, showing Coentrão in a Sporting shirt with the message “Fábio Coentrão looks so good in green and white!”