Real Madrid v Liverpool: Fabinho's stint with Los Blancos remembered

Some players have had spells at clubs that have been totally forgotten. 

Did you remember that Robbie Keane played for West Ham? Or that Patrick van Aanholt made two appearances for Chelsea? 

How about Robert Pires joining Aston Villa, or Shkodran Mustafi being on the books at Everton?

The same can be said of Fabinho's stint at Real Madrid. Even many ardent Liverpool fans will be completely unaware that it happened at all. 

Of course, the Reds meet Los Blancos in the Champions League quarter-finals. The stakes are particularly high for Mohamed Salah as he looks to avenge his heartbreak from the 2018 final - even if the villain of the piece Sergio Ramos is out through injury. 

For Fabinho, though, he'll be coming up against his former club. The midfielder mainly played for the 'B' Castilla team, a set-up which at that time featured the likes of Alvaro Morata, Casemiro and Jese Rodriguez. 

Goal have been documenting how the then full-back left Brazil aged 18 and arrived in Madrid, via a brief spell in Portugal.

Agent Jorge Mendes brought him to La Liga to link up with another of his clients, Jose Mourinho. And don't forget, he also represents Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Fabinho at Real Madrid 

Fabinho's coach for Real Madrid Castilla, Alberto Toril, described him as "very shy" but "you could immediately see his potential". 

We've dug out some footage of Fabinho in a Real shirt and while it takes a bit of getting used to, you can see Toril's point. 

Toril also revealed that at 6ft 2in, Fabinho initially played as a right-back or centre-back, but never as a midfielder. That certainly explains how he's been able to adapt so seamlessly when called upon by Jurgen Klopp this season. 

He added that the Brazilian was also "positionally very good" and "made good decisions on the ball". It's noted that Mourinho was impressed and it was the current Spurs boss who handed him a chance in the first team. 

Fabinho played 14 minutes against Malaga in 2013, registering an assist for Angel Di Maria in a 6-2 win. That was as good as it got, though. 

With 30 appearances for Castilla, he ultimately moved on to Monaco. That might seem like a random destination, but it followed a pattern of Mendes clients heading to the principality - think James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Bernardo Silva. 

Fabinho had a stellar few years in Ligue 1, winning the title in 2016/17 as part of that iconic Monaco side which featured Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Silva and Thomas Lemar.

The rest is history, of course, with Fabinho arriving on Merseyside in 2018 and winning both the Champions League and Premier League. 

So while his short-lived time at the Bernabeu has largely been brushed under the carpet, it did set him up for much of his future success and he can now return to his old employers much closer to the finished article. 

Kat Lucas

Interested in: Tottenham Hotspur, Cricket, Football

Journalist covering football, cricket and boxing. Always Tottenham Hotspur, invariably disappointed.