Fabio Alexandre da Silva Coentrao is missing. Thirty years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, and weighing 70 kilos, he was last seen on a football pitch on 20 May at the Jamor National Stadium, Oeiras, in the Portuguese Cup final against Aves, wearing a Sporting Lisbon shirt.
He has not been active on social media for more than 60 days, not even to speak about when he heroically used his private yacht to come to the aid of 15 stranded fisherman, 18 kilometres off the coast of Portuguese city Aveiro in July.
One source has claimed that he has returned to the upscale Madrid neighbourhood of La Finca (home to many Real Madrid players), where he has been working with his personal trainer. But nobody has seen him and he has yet to show up for training at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground this summer.
Coentrao was due to return to Real Madrid this summer after a one-year loan spell with Sporting and has one year left on the generous seven-year contract given to him by Jose Mourinho in 2011 (for Madrid, the total cost of that contract will come to 55 million euros, which includes the 30-million-euro transfer fee paid to Benfica plus 25 million euros in salary costs). Since then, he has spent two seasons on loan, with Monaco in 2015/16 and most recently with Sporting last season.
A Madrid career marred by injury and disciplinary issues
During his time spent at Madrid he has had 18 injuries, and in the four seasons prior to his loan move to Monaco in 2015/16, he played an average of just 30 minutes per game. During that time, he tested Mourinho’s patience on a number of occasions, mainly over disciplinary misdemeanours (one of the most documented of which was when he failed to turn up on time for New Year’s Day training after the 2012 Christmas break because he decided to stay in Portugal for New Year’s Eve).
In March, 2012, he was famously caught smoking a cigarette during his 24th birthday celebrations, and was subsequently dropped by Mourinho for the club’s next game against Villarreal. Fast forward to November 2017 and the player had still not learned his lesson, with Sporting coach, Jorge Jesús, demanding that he kick his smoking habit.
Real Madrid were expecting his agent to find him an exit door, and it has been that way for three years now. After playing 44 games for Sporting last year, it is unknown what Coentrao himself wants or expects from Real Madrid, or whether he will return to Valdebabas this season. In the meantime, the search for 30-year-old continues.