Madrid outcast Coentrao defends Zidane
Fabio Coentrao, on loan at Sporting CP, hopes to avoid a return to Real Madrid, but says Zinedine Zidane is not to blame for his struggles.
Real Madrid outcast Fabio Coentrao has defended Zinedine Zidane's treatment of him despite feeling like the "ugly duckling" at the club.
Coentrao returned to his native Portugal in July after sealing a season-long loan deal with Sporting CP.
The 29-year-old made just three LaLiga appearances last term as he struggled for confidence, wondering if he had "forgotten how to play".
But while he is eager to avoid a return to Los Blancos, the 52-cap Portugal international harbours no ill feeling toward Zidane.
"In Madrid, the last year was not the same. Not that Zizou didn't give me confidence, not at all," Coentrao told Marca.
"Zizou has been a very good trainer for me too and I can only say good things about him.
"The one who speaks ill of Zidane doesn't know what he speaks of because he is a spectacular guy, but things didn't go well for me at Madrid.
"I had to leave again to get my game back in order and gain confidence."
Coentrao still has a season to run on his contract with Madrid, but the left-back is clear in his desire to remain at Sporting.
"I want to stay, because I found happiness here again," he said.
"I have a lot of respect for Real Madrid, they have given me everything.
"I want them to win it all, but I am doing well here and I would like to stay at Sporting until the end of my career."