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Watch: Why Every Team Needs A Player Like Alvaro Arbeloa

Watch: Why Every Team Needs A Player Like Alvaro Arbeloa
By Mikey Traynor

Former Liverpool defender and Rafa Benitez Christmas-card list ever-present Alvaro Arebloa is not the best right-back in La Liga, and is certainly not someone who you would think of as important in terms of this current Real Madrid side with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo constantly in the lime-light, but the role he plays for his team is far bigger than what we see on the pitch.

Of course, sometimes we do see it on the pitch. In fact, anyone watching Real Madrid's 8-0 demolition of Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday night would have seen Arbeloa's intangibles in all their glory.

After one of Ronaldo's goals, the squad was returning from celebrating when Arbeloa ordered them to go over and celebrate with teammates Denis Cheryshev, who has been under public scrutiny for playing in a cup game that he was ineligible to participate in:

After the game, Arebloa said the following regarding the Cheryshev situation:

It has been very unfair on Denis. We are a team and bad situations are where we need to be most united. We all want the same thing and we have to defend this badge, among the players, the fans and the club.

He's showing solidarity, and sticking up for his teammates.

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Every team needs a player like this. Alvaro Arbeloa is one of the biggest characters in the Real Madrid dressing room. From hearing the other players talk about him, his job is to make sure that new players don't feel excluded from the group, almost like a monitor, or prefect in school.

While he has only played twice this season, he has been at the club for the last six years, winning league and Champions League titles to add to his European Championship and World Cup winner's medals with Spain. This demands respect from his fellow professionals.

Closer to home, there is a guy that now plays a similar role for the Republic of Ireland. Some fans have suggested that they don't want to see Robbie Keane named in the squad that Martin O'Neill will bring to France next summer, but as Steven Reid explained recently, Robbie has been the glue that holds a squad together for years.

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I was a player at Millwall and Robbie Keane was a millionaire from the Premier League. So as I walked from the dining room to my bedroom and heard Robbie tell some joke about some player from some training session, I stared at the floor. Of course I knew who he was. He was on Match of the Day every Saturday. Who was I? Nobody yet.

Or so I thought. "How're ye Stevo?" he asked.

Stevo.

Fifteen years on, I think about that greeting and the easy way he introduced himself.

Typically, the third goalkeeper that is brought to an international tournament is decided by how they will effect squad morale, as seen by Pepe Reina's continued inclusion in Spain squads, but if you don't have an experienced pro reaching out for the new guys, and keeping the stars in check, then you're set up for disaster.

While some players lead by example on the pitch, Arbeloa leads by example off of it.

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via r/soccer.

SEE ALSO: 4 Rafa Bentiez Signings That Couldn't Replace Steve Finnan As Liverpool's Right Back

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