The former Liverpool duo are reported to be quite close friends off the pitch – however matters on the pitch in the heat of the moment is something entirely different.
The incident between the pair happened minutes before the half-time whistle of what was an intense Copa Del Rey second leg at the Bernabeu Stadium. Real Madrid were winning the game 1-0 – with the hosts holding a 2-0 aggregate lead.
Nevertheless, as Espanyol were pouring forward, tensions started to build up amongst the players. Espanyol forward Sergio Garcia picked up the ball on the left-wing and was allowed to run at centre-back Nacho who ultimately brought the striker down to earn a yellow card.
Right-back Alvaro Arbeloa was supposed to be covering that position – yet he had wandered out of his zone anticipating a Real Madrid break. Iconic central midfielder Xabi Alonso rushed over immediately to criticise his former Liverpool team-mate, suggesting that Arbeloa should not have abandoned his position at such a stage in the game.
The response to the criticism wasn’t particularly graceful – as Spanish paper AS quote Arbeloa as suggesting to Alonso to ‘worry about covering his own game and stop losing the ball as he had done previously.’ Arbeloa’s response was probably born out of frustration – as Alonso’s performance was nothing short of excellent.
Registering 82 passes with an 88% completion rate, Alonso certainly found his range as he assisted Jese Rodriguez to open the scoring with a fabulous pass. The victory will set-up a mouth-watering Semi-Final clash against the winner of Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao’s Quarter-Final tie tomorrow.
image: © cogocogo