herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Anfield is special: Arbeloa

Defender Alvaro Arbeloa (pictured) watched from the bench as Real Madrid were crowned European champions for a 10th time in May but admits his toughest moment in the competition came as a Liverpool player.

The full-back returns to Anfield five years after he left to return to his native Spain and admits the place has fond memories for him.

However, the crushing disappointment of losing the 2007 Champions League final to AC Milan, when he came on as a late sub, remains his lowest point.

"Suffering injuries is hard but one of the most difficult moments for me was the defeat in the final in Athens with Liverpool," said the 31-year-old, who was allowed to move to the Bernabeu for just £3.5million in 2009 despite becoming Real's first-choice right-back for a number of subsequent seasons.

WONDERFUL

"I've lost in the semi-finals four times but I always thought about the missed opportunity in Athens. Going back to Liverpool after five years will be very special. I spent two wonderful years there and I got used to a new culture.

"I grew a lot, both as a player and as a person. 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."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's 1981 European Cup winner Alan Kennedy believes Cristiano Ronaldo is to Real Madrid what Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness were to the Reds' all-conquering side.

"Is there anyone the equivalent of Ronaldo?" he said.

"Looking back they (opponents) will say 'They had Dalglish and Souness'. Souness and Dalglish did it in my day.

"Souness was a player everyone admired and players who played alongside him will say he was the most influential player on the pitch because he was a leader, he wanted success.

"Ronaldo is slightly different. Although he has worked hard to play within the team, when he gets the ball he does excite everyone and that is what Dalglish did.

"Liverpool players have not got to have any fear about it, but have to be wary this guy can do anything with the ball."

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