Real Madrid and Barcelona have been the fiercest of rivals. However, over the past decade, their rivalry has been defined by two players – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. One ex Galactico is appreciative of the former but is also looking forward to the days when the Argentine finally retires.
Alvaro Arbeloa might not have been among the biggest names to have played for Real Madrid. He was, however, a loyal servant who fought for the Galacticos till the very end.
Arbeloa played for seven years in a Real shirt, following his transfer from Liverpool. During this time, he went up against Lionel Messi constantly, who he hopes will hang up his boots soon.
“I respect Barcelona a lot, as they’re a great team with a great player like Lionel Messi,” Arbeloa told Marca.
“He’s very good, although I’ve never been able to enjoy it [watching him] and I don’t think I ever will.
“I hope he retires before long, I’m counting down the days.”
Arbeloa, who also spent his youth career in the Real Madrid academy also talked about his stance on the rivalry with Barcelona, stating that he’s not particularly ‘anti-Barcelona’.
“I’m not anti-Barcelona,” the former-Liverpool man continued.
“I always want them to lose because that’s good for Real Madrid. Real Madrid fans aren’t anti-Barcelona, but I do hope that they lose in training tomorrow.
“Would I want them to fail to go through in the Champions League? Yes, there would be one less rival.
“Barcelona were always a challenging team, they’re a great team. I always went out to beat them.
“I’ve always seen tension in Clasicos, even seeing Zinedine Zidane with his hands around Luis Enrique’s neck.”
Meanwhile, Arbeloa’s former team are going through a turbulent season, which saw them rise from the 9th position to 2nd in the league table.