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Alvaro Arbeloa: I turned down AC Milan, Liga clubs for West Ham

Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa
Alvaro Arbeloa returns to the Premier League for the first time since 2009.

Alvaro Arbeloa has said that he turned down a move to AC Milan this summer before agreeing to join West Ham and return to the Premier League.

The Spanish defender, who played for Liverpool from 2007-09, was a free agent after being released by European champions Real Madrid at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.

The 33-year-old agreed a one-year deal with the Hammers.

"The conversations with AC Milan were at an advanced stage but the Chinese takeover of the [Italian] club complicated the deal," Arbeloa told Cadena Cope. "I took a decision not to continue with this option and fortunately, this offer [West Ham] came along."

AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi confirmed the imminent sale of the club to a Chinese consortium earlier this summer.

The ex-Spain international left Real after seven straight seasons at the club.

"It's difficult to leave Real Madrid and choose another destination," the right-back said. "It's like leaving heaven and having to choose a place on earth.

"I wanted an option that convinced me in every way.

"I had offers from Spain but I didn't want to wear any other shirt than that of Real Madrid in Spain so I opted to leave.

"The choice of West Ham, the club, the city, the coach and the fans, felt good in every way and here I am.

"I'm very happy, I am where I want to be and I'm looking forward to playing." Arbeloa believes he has joined the Premier League at the best possible time.

"The standard of the Premier League, not just of the players but of the coaches that have arrived, make the competition very appealing and beautiful," he said. "It's a balanced Premier League, perhaps the most balanced in recent years.

"I want to enjoy it."

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