Alvaro Arbeloa played the final minutes of the victory over Valencia and was given a fond farewell by the Santiago Bernabeu, where a video of his career in images was projected prior to kick-off.
His name was chanted from the stands and a giant shirt displaying the number 17 was unveiled when he came on to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, while Sergio Ramos handed over the captain’s armband. At the final whistle he was mobbed by his team mates out on the field as the fans gave him a standing ovation.
The Madrid academy product thanked the fans for their support: “It’s all over, it’s been incredible, a dream. Thank so much to everyone. I don’t know how to express my gratitude for so many years. I’ve been proud to wear this shirt every single day. Being a part of this team is the best thing that can happen to a footballer. It’s a team with huge expectations, but one in which every second I’ve spent out on the pitch has been the best of my life”.
The situation in La Liga
“We’re going to believe until the final moment, just as we did in Lisbon and at other crucial moments. We’ll be there until the end. We’re very much aware we can’t make the same mistake as two years ago when we let the title slip away. If Barcelona don’t slip up, we’ll congratulate them as rightful winners”.
Playing outside Spain
“I want to keep playing football for as long as my body allows. I couldn’t wear a shirt other than Real Madrid’s here in Spain”.
He won it all
Arbeloa developed as a player in Madrid’s academy between 2001 and 2006. He has played 238 times for the first team over the last seven seasons, during which time he has won 1 Champions League, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 La Liga title, 2 Copa Del Rey titles and 1 Spanish Super Cup. With the Spanish national team Arbeloa has won 1 World Cup and 2 European Cups.