Álvaro Arbeloa, also known as “the Spartan” for the fans, will depart Real Madrid this summer, as his contract expires on June 30th. In order to thank the many people that supported him in the past seven years, the defender will take this weekend’s Valencia match to say goodbye to the Santiago Bernabéu crowd.
Arbeloa was part of the Real Madrid Castilla squad that got promoted to Segunda División after a 14-year absence. He didn’t get many chances with the first team, as he only played a handful of matches before he left for Deportivo La Coruña in 2006. From there, Liverpool coach Rafa Benítez would take notice and bring him to Anfield for three seasons.
Becoming an important part of the English defense, Real president Florentino Pérez brought him back as his promise to bring more Spanish talent in his second presidence stint. With José Mourinho as the boss, Arbeloa thrived and turned into an essential squad member on and off the pitch.
Like the Portuguese manager, the right back strived to defend his teammates and the club against any hostility. This gained him special affection from the section of fans who valued Mourinho’s contribution to Real.
Once Dani Carvajal came back in the 2013-14 season, the fight for a spot became tougher for him. However, he still managed to play 65 games from Dani’s return until the end of the 2014-15 year. This season has showed his decline in importance, as he’s only appeared in eight matches.
The Valencia match will be complicated, as they won’t just let Real take the three points. Even though they’re not fighting for anything, they’re always a tough side to play. Consequently, Marcelo is expected to play. Nevertheless, Zidane may look to give Arbeloa some minutes before the final whistle.
Regardless of his current form, Arbeloa has been an example of true Madridismo for some, including old teammates like Xabi Alonso, Granero and José Callejón. Having won seven titles, with La Décima being the highlight, the Spartan can bid farewell with the feeling that he achieved what he dreamt of.