Former Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho says Alvaro Arbeloa is not just a player but a good friend as the defender prepares to say goodbye to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The right back joined Los Blancos in 2009 and played for three years under Mourinho, winning the Copa del Rey and La Liga in their time together.
The ex-Spain international has not has his contract renewed at the club and could make a farewell appearance this afternoon against Valencia – the club’s last home game of the season.
Writing about the right back in an open letter in Marca, Mourinho, who is expected to take over at Manchester United this summer, said: “Arbeloa is a friend, not just a player, for me. How does a player become a friend? As an example of passion for his profession, of love for his club, of dedication to a group and its objectives, humility, and honour in the relationship with those he works with every day.”
He added: “In the history of our huge club there are many of the best players in the world. Arbeloa doesn’t have a high profile, but he is certainly one who has given Real Madrid, its fans, Coaches and his teammates all he had.
“I have only words of thanks. In my 16 years of coaching he is surely on the podium of the most important players with whom I have worked. A good player and an exceptional man.”