Real Madrid do not fear Bayern Munich or Barcelona in Europe says Arbeloa
Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa insists his team are not afraid of facing Champions League favourites Barcelona or Bayern Munich ahead of this week's quarterfinal draw in Nyon.
Zinedine Zidane's team booked a quarterfinal spot after seeing off Serie A giants AS Roma with a 4-0 aggregate in the Round of 16, and Arbeloa reckons they must take on the best to achieve their goal of going all the way in the competition.
"We do not fear anyone in the Champions League. We are ready and will take on any opponent. If we draw Barcelona or Bayern, we will be ready," he told AS.
"If we want to go all the way in the Champions League, we will have to improve. We cannot afford to just let the league slip away.
Having laboured to a 2-1 away win over Las Palmas in the La Liga on Sunday, Arbeloa admitted that his team were not at their physical best but did enough to seal three points against a tough opponent.
"It is true that we suffered and that some players were still feeling the Champions League win over Roma. We have to improve," he added.
"But I do not agree that we lacked ambition. We scored after Las Palmas equalised and created chances.
"We should not forget that Las Palmas beat Getafe 4-0 and that they made Barcelona suffer here as well."
Arbeloa, whose ongoing feud with Spanish national teammate Gerard Pique has caused unneeded attention last week, was also quick to diffuse the situation, but not before giving the latter a piece of advice.
"As far as I'm concerned we're quits now. I'd love it if he could enjoy the moment Barça are in like his teammates do but his mind is on other things. I've always tried to defend Real Madrid without disrespecting anybody," said the Madrid defender.
While Madrid have secured qualification to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, their city rivals Atletico await their fate on Wednesday when they host PSV Eindhoven in the second leg of their tie, after the first leg ended in a goalless draw.
"It would be good news for all teams that are still in the Champions League, if Atletico Madrid lose to PSV [in the round of 16]," Arbeloa said with regards to rivals Atletico.
With Barcelona holding a 12-point lead over Madrid, who are currently in third place behind Atletico in the La Liga standings, Arbeloa and his teammates' chance of finishing the season with silverware will largely revolve around the Champions League.