• Euro 2012

Arbeloa: Ronaldo now my enemy

ESPN staff
June 26, 2012
Alvaro Arbeloa: 'Tomorrow I will not have club-mates, they will be enemies' © Getty Images

Real Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa believes Portugal have plenty more in their armoury to worry Spain aside from his club-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, as the two sides prepare to do battle in Wednesday's Euro 2012 semi-final.

Talk of Ronaldo's potential threat has dominated the build-up to the all-Iberian last-four clash, with Portugal's captain having enjoyed a devastatingly prolific season for Real and also starred so far at the Euros - with match-winning performances in his past two games, against Czech Republic and Netherlands.

But while Arbeloa is all too aware of Ronaldo's qualities, having trained with him week in week out at Real, he believes it would be foolish for Spain to focus all of their attention on the former Manchester United star.

"We all know that Ronaldo is an excellent player, but Portugal is not only Cristiano," Arbeloa said. "They have had an excellent tournament with players of great quality and we have stopped all of them, not only Cristiano.

"We know how good he is, and he is showing that at the Euros. We hope that we have a good game and Cristiano not so much.''

Arbeloa could find himself coming directly up against his Los Blancos team-mate and he admits the prospect of trying to keep Ronaldo at bay is a daunting one, though he is nonetheless relishing the opportunity to mark him.

"It's always physically and mentally demanding to face a player who is one of the best and playing at a spectacular level," Arbeloa said. "[But] I always like to measure myself against the best - it's a great challenge.''

Arbeloa will also line up against Real Madrid team-mates Pepe and Fabio Coentrao at Donetsk's Donbass Arena, and he believes club friendships will quickly be forgotten when the game kicks off.

"It's the same as when you are at your clubs and you play against team-mates from the national side. Tomorrow I will not have club-mates, they will be enemies," Arbeloa said.

"I don't usually speak with the people against who I'm going to play. I will fight to help Spain get into the final.''

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