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REAL MADRID 3 - VALENCIA 2

Real Madrid's Álvaro Arbeloa bids Bernabéu farewell

The Real academy graduate made his final home appearance for Los Merengues in Sunday's 3-2 win over Valencia.

Despedida de Arbeloa del Real Madrid en el Bernabéu
PAUL HANNA

Real Madrid's Álvaro Arbeloa played his final minutes at the Santiago Bernabéu in Los Blancos' 3-2 victory over Valencia on Sunday.

Arbeloa made just his sixth LaLiga appearance of the season as a second-half substitute against Los Che and was given a rapturous ovation when he came on, with a giant shirt bearing his name and number unfurled in the stands.

The 33-year-old, who came through the Real youth system and returned to the club in 2009 after leaving for spells at Deportivo La Coruña and Liverpool, is set to depart Madrid in the summer having won seven trophies in the capital.

Real Madrid's fans unfurl a giant shirt with Arbeloa's name and number.

And speaking after Real's last home game of the league campaign - one that leaves Zinedine Zidane's men one point behind leaders Barcelona with one match to play - Arbeloa spoke of his pride at playing for the Bernabéu side.

"I've felt really proud to pull on this shirt every day," he said. "It's the best thing that can happen to a professional footballer."

The defender was also handed an ovation after the final whistle, and he had words of gratitude for the Madrid faithful.

"It's been incredible, I'm really thankful to all the fans," declared Arbeloa. "I don't know how to express my thanks for all these years. From now on I'm one of them."