Arbeloa hits back at Benitez in Real Madrid 'values' row

The Napoli boss claimed Jose Mourinho damaged the reputation of Spain's most successful club during his three-year spell, something the defender has strongly refuted
Alvaro Arbeloa has hit back at claims from Rafa Benitez that Jose Mourinho damaged the reputation of Real Madrid.

The Napoli boss suggested new Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti would be able to "restore the values" of the club after Mourinho's turbulent three-year tenure, but Arbeloa believes such claims are simply used as a "weapon" to undermine the side.

"I think that this issue about the club’s values has been used as a weapon against Real Madrid," he told Efe. "It has conveniently been used on occasion.

"I feel that the most important thing is that the team has given everything it has got out on the field to win. I might add that Santiago Bernabeu was a president who always spoke his mind.

"If you look back at everything that Mourinho has said, you’ll see that those values are present in the words he says – to win by giving everything to defend the Real Madrid crest.

"When you spend three years at a club like Real Madrid you cannot always make the right decisions. We all make mistakes, I make mistakes every day. When you are Real Madrid’s coach and you have to make many big decisions, you are bound to get some wrong. I am sure that Mourinho made mistakes but he made them with the belief that he was doing the best for the team and without any bad intentions. Nobody is perfect.

"Now with Ancelotti, the same could happen. I am sure he will get a lot of decisions right and some, he’ll get wrong."

Arbeloa caused a stir in the Madrid camp when he chose to side with his former boss during his row with Iker Casillas, but the Spain international insists sincerity in football is not something to be ashamed of.

When asked if his defence of Mourinho had caused some problems in the squad, he said: "Sometimes, but it’s something I have to accept. I know that I am not the most affable player as far as the press in concerned. For one reason or another I have tried to ignore what the press say – even when they are saying something positive.

"I have always told them what I thought when they have written something which I don’t like. Not many footballers can say the same – a lot of players keep quiet, fearing they will be punished. I have never been afraid to speak my mind and when the press write something which isn’t true, I have always responded with respect. But that has caused me to make many enemies.

"In the football world and in the world in general, today it seems that being sincere is viewed badly."