Former Liverpool defender Alvaro Arbeloa has spoken of his excitement at going back to Anfield for Wednesday’s Champions League clash between Real Madrid and the Merseysiders.
Arbeloa, 31, spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Reds after arriving from Deportivo La Coruna in the winter of 2007, before returning to La Liga in 2009 for a second spell with the current European champions, who he had earlier left for the Galician outfit.
‘Going back to Liverpool after five years will be very special,’ he told Spanish newspaper AS.
‘I played at Anfield, so it will be great. But not just for me. I have told my team-mates to enjoy the match at Anfield as much as possible.
‘Champions League nights and big games like this one at Anfield are very special. We're going to be up against a team that will come out to fight to the last and will give everything, because they need to win too.’
Arbeloa became an important contributor under fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez during his time at Liverpool, making 98 total appearances, while featuring at either full-back position, as well in the centre of defence.
Also a part of the of the squad which tasted Champions League final defeat to AC Milan in 2007, the 56-times capped international admits that last season’s win with Real helped banish a lot of angst.
‘I grew a lot, both as a player and as a person. I spent two wonderful years there and I got used to a new culture,’ he said.
‘La Décima [Real’s tenth European title] was the most important trophy and after winning it I can look back without the anxiety I had before.
‘I've lost in the semi-finals four times and I always thought about the missed opportunity in Athens [against AC Milan].’