Cristiano Ronaldo is a “monster” who was “born with natural talent”, says Fabio Coentrao, with a former Real Madrid and Portugal team-mate of a modern-day great not surprised to have seen remarkable standards maintained.
A five-time Ballon d’Or winner is showing no sign of slowing down despite now being 35 years of age.
His stunning skill set continues to be embraced at Serie A champions Juventus, with major silverware having been delivered at the likes of Manchester United, Madrid and now Juve.
Coentrao has experienced that alongside Ronaldo for club and country, with the 32-year-old full-back claiming to be in no doubt that an illustrious compatriot is the best player on the planet.
“I often wish other people could have had the chance to work with him to see up close what he is like,” two-time La Liga title winner Coentrao told O Jogo.
“He is a monster, a great friend and an excellent person. He was born with natural talent and he has worked very hard to become the best in the world.”
Coentrao never hit the heights at Real that Ronaldo managed, but the Portuguese defender remains proud of what he has achieved at the very highest level.
A man with 52 international caps to his name said of his time in Spain: “I had to go to other clubs to show my work and then I arrived at Real Madrid, the best club in the world.
“But, that's not for everyone. I was there for seven years, with a contract that was renewed in the middle of that time. I won 15 or more titles there. That speaks for itself and it's a matter of pride.”
Coentrao is now running down his career back in Portugal, with an emotional return to his roots made at Rio Ave.
“I'm only thinking about working each day, knowing that it's not easy after such a long break, my family is proud of my career,” Coentrao, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, said on his future plans.
“When I was 13, my parents had to emigrate and I was alone. Rio Ave helped me a lot at that time because I was only a young boy.”