Saturday, August 9, 2008

Alvaro Arbeloa

Alvaro Arbeloa (17)

Full Name: Alvaro Arbeloa Coca
Position: Defender
Squad number: 17
Date of birth: 17/01/1983
Birth place: Salamanca, Spain
Former clubs: Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruna
LFC 1st team games: 73
LFC 1st team goals: 2
Spain International caps: 3
Spain International goals: 0
Career Appearances: 110
Career Goals: 2
Transfer Fee: £2.5m

Alvaro Arbeloa Profile

Versatile defender Alvaro Arbeloa was brought to Anfield in January 2007.

The Spaniard started out at Real Zaragoza before being lured by Real Madrid aged 16.

The Spanish capital was where he first worked with Rafa Benitez, who was then youth team coach at the Bernabeu.

Arbeloa made his full debut for Madrid against Real Betis in October 2004, but managed just one further appearance in the next two years.

By July 2006, the time had come to move on. His destination was northern Spain and Deportivo La Coruna.

Little did he know, however, that within six months he'd be on his way to the Premiership.

It took just 21 appearances at Depor to convince Benitez that Arbeloa was the man to challenge Steve Finnan for the right-back slot at Anfield.

The defender, who represented Spain at every youth level, made his Reds debut as a substitute against Newcastle on February 10.

This was followed by a first start in the Nou Camp, where Arbeloa was deployed as a left-back. It proved a tactical masterstroke on the part of Benitez as the new boy excelled, thwarting Barca starlet Lionel Messi and helping the Reds return home with an unlikely 2-1 lead. The trick was repeated two weeks later and Liverpool were through to the quarter-finals of the European Cup.

The full-back featured 14 times in his first six months on Merseyside, scoring once against Reading and coming on as a late sub in the Champions League final.

Arbeloa's club form finally brought international recognition in March 2008 when he came on with 15 minutes to go as Spain recorded a friendly victory over world champions Italy. Three months later he was part of the squad which triumphed in Euro 2008, though started just one game.

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