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Pepe considers Coentrao the best fullback in the world

Pepe considers Coentrao the best fullback in the world

Fabio Coentrao, Pepe - Real Madrid

Pepe has faith that his fellow Portuguese international will fully settle in Spain to become a mainstay for Real Madrid.

LOS ANGELES – Despite an uneasy start to his Real Madrid career, Fabio Coentrao will rebound and show his world-beating quality, according to teammate Pepe.

The left back made only 12 league starts in his first season in the Spanish capital, notching three assists. He split time with Marcelo, who is currently with Brazil competing in the Olympics, leaving Coentrao as first choice to begin preseason.

“Fabio doesn't have to show anything to anybody. He has a lot of attributes, a lot of qualities,” Pepe said through a translator. “He's young. He's shown that he is a great player. He's made the World Cup and the Euros. None of his capabilities are in doubt.”

Teammates on the Portuguese national team, Pepe (FC Porto) and Coentrao (Benfica) moved to Madrid from Spain's Iberian neighbor. The bald 29-year-old central defender made the jump in 2007, so has some insight into the transition.

“When I got here with Real Madrid, the truth is they responded very well,” Pepe said. “I know that the people like me, they love me, they have a lot of warmth for me. I'm enchanted for that warmth and love they've shown.

“As for Fabio, he's a new guy. His career has always been in Portugal. He had a somewhat bad experience coming to Spain but I believe that presently he has an opportunity to be able to play for the best club in the world. I believe that Fabio has that patience. He will be working hard to succeed for Madrid. I believe that the warmth the people have given to me they will give to him.”

Coentrao, at 24, heads into his second season with Real Madrid as a reigning La Liga champion. Pepe has no doubts of his teammate's quality or ability to contribute consistently.

“He's the best fullback in the world,” Pepe said. “I believe Madrid has the privilege of having him with us.”

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