The versatile defender has been a consistent performer in his first season back at Real Madrid, having previously spent five seasons at the club from the age of 16, proving adept in either full-back position.
Arbeloa’s first coach when he joined Real Madrid’s junior ranks was Rafa Benitez, who later brought him to Liverpool for £2.6m in January 2007. He went on to make 99 appearances for the Anfield club, the last of which was marred by an on-pitch altercation with team-mate Jamie Carragher, who blamed the Spaniard for a goal conceded against West Brom.
Nonetheless, Arbeloa said his stint in England made him “a much better player” and he was part of the squad that won Euro 2008, three months after making his international debut.
He only played once in qualifying for the World Cup – starting in the 5-0 victory against Belgium last September.
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