• Quote: ‘I knew football would one day end and I should take a new direction. My happiness is this boat – this is the life I want to lead’ – Ex-Real Madrid star Fabio Coentrao

Former Real Madrid star Fabio Coentrao is living a boyhood dream as a fisherman – following a career spanning 16 years.

Portuguese star Coentrao, 33, who played at Real Madrid during 2011-18, has his own fleet of boats.

Born in Vila do Conde his boyhood days were in Caxinas, a fishing neighbourhood, signing for Rio Ave FC, aged 16.

Sea fishing is a profession that runs in Coentrao’s family: “Life in the sea is not a shame, as many people think.

“It is a job like any other. Not only that. The sea is beautiful and we need it, it has that there are people working here and the profession should be respected like any other,” he said.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s close friend Coentrao who joined Real Zaragoza in 2008 in Spain’s Segunda division from Benfica, said: “People who love the sea and who want to experience the sea need to follow his will, his dream.”

Coentrao, who moved to Real Madrid in a €30million transfer in 2011 to the Camp Nou and played under Jose Mourinho, won 13 trophies during a successful playing career – at Madrid winning two La Liga titles and two Champions League honours.

Coentrao and Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo.
Coentrao and Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo.

At Madrid he was also under Carlo Ancelotti, being loaned out to AS Monaco FC in 2015, returning and playing a bit-part in the title winning 2016-17 season; moving to Sporting in 2017.

Coentrao, who bought his first fishing boat while at Madrid, said: “It is also a job for the new generations. My father had a boat, he used to fish and always went with him as a child. My life was the sea – the sea and fishing.”

After terminating his contract at Real Madrid he joined Rio Ave in 2018, being released in 2019, retiring in the 2020-21 season.

“Of course, I knew that football would one day end and that I should take a new direction in my life.

“And my happiness is this boat – this is the life I want to lead,” added Coentrao.