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By ESPN Staff

Ancelotti: Coentrao still has role to play

Carlo Ancelotti has reiterated that he sees Manchester United target Fabio Coentrao as a very important player for Real Madrid.

Fabio

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Portugal full-back Coentrao has barely played this season for Madrid, and United are reported to have rekindled their interest in a player who almost moved to Old Trafford last summer.

The former Benfica player made his first start in almost two months after being out injured when he took to the field in Wednesday night’s 2-0 Copa del Rey last-16 second leg win at Osasuna, but was sent off for kicking out at Roberto Torres when the game was long won.

Ancelotti defended his player in his postmatch news conference, claiming Coentrao had been unfortunate with the decision, and had previously played well considering his long time out.

"It was an unlucky sending off,” Ancelotti said. “He played very well offensively and defensively. He is really focused and is important for us. He did not make mistakes after a long time without playing. We have to value how he played."

Coentrao joined Madrid for 30 million euros in the summer of 2011, and often played under former boss Jose Mourinho, even though many fans and pundits in the Spanish capital preferred Brazilian Marcelo at left-back.

The 25-year-old looked to be on the way to Old Trafford on a season-long loan at the end of the last transfer window, only for the move to collapse at the last minute. He claimed then to be happy to be staying at the Bernabeu.

"There was the possibility of joining Manchester United, but I stayed at Real Madrid, and that's what matters," Coentrao said in September. "It would have been bad if I had to stay despite having the chance to move to a better club, but that didn't happen as I already am at the best club in the world.”

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