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Arbeloa: Mourinho the bravest person I know in football

The Spaniard praised his former Real Madrid boss in a radio interview in which he also talked retirement, Ronaldo - and, of course, Piqué.

Álvaro Arbeloa with José Mourinho during their time together at Real Madrid.
Amaia ZabaloDiario AS

Ex-Real Madrid defender Álvaro Arbeloa talked to the programme 'El Transistor' on Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Wednesday in the wake of his announcement that he is to retire as a footballer.

In a wide-ranging interview, Arbeloa - who spent last season at Premier League side West Ham United, making just four appearances - discussed his reasons for calling it a day, praised former Real boss José Mourinho and spoke of his certainty that Cristiano Ronaldo will remain at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The 34-year-old World Cup winner also responded to one-time Spain team-mate Gerard Piqué's recent dig at Madrid for holding a victory parade after lifting the Copa del Rey in 2011.

Arbeloa's Onda Cero interview:

Retirement: "It was a decision that I'd thought hard about; at the end of the season I received several offers, but none of them appealed to me; [I felt that] the best thing to do was retire."

Ruling out a return to LaLiga: "I said that I didn't want to play in Spain, because I didn't want to wear any other shirt that wasn't Real Madrid's. It [the decision to retire] is more mental than physical. I don't have the enthusiasm to keep on playing; things haven't worked out as I hoped after leaving Real."

Future: "I'll remain connected to football, because it's what I love, although I don't know if I want to be a coach. If Real Madrid need me I'm here. But I'm not in a rush. I'm here to help in any way."

Arbeloa celebrates Real Madrid's 2013/14 Champions League win.
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Arbeloa celebrates Real Madrid's 2013/14 Champions League win.Franck FifeAFP

Offers: "I had offers in China, the United States... But I didn't want play [just] for the money; it's football that doesn't appeal to me."

Disappointing spell at West Ham: "This year things haven't worked out well - I had a lot of injuries."

Mourinho: "I think the bravest person I've met in football is Mourinho. He has to be happy with the year he's had at [Manchester] United."

On the low-key end to his career: "I'm not retiring from football in the manner I'd have liked to; I'd have liked to hang up my boots in the way Xabi Alonso did, for example."

Iker Casillas: "I've read that Casillas had a good year, so he won't be short of offers."

Cristiano: "For me, Cristiano is innocent until it's proven otherwise. I'm convinced that he'll stay at Real Madrid: he's a winner, and he knows that they're the best team in the world. He's the most talented player I've every played with."

Piqué: "I think it's to be respected that Piqué doesn't want to celebrate Copas del Rey. So now the Barça fans know: they're not to be celebrated."

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