Spain news

Arbeloa plays down talk of tension

Real Madrid defender insists club rivalries have been put aside

ESPN staff

Alvaro Arbeloa (C) sits with Barcelona players Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Pedro© Getty Images

Alvaro Arbeloa has played down talk of growing tensions between Real Madrid and Barcelona players in the Spain camp.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque recently confirmed there were problems between Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, and Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez then gave a potentially inflammatory interview in which he suggested - not for the first time - that Madrid players have been unsporting after defeats.

It been suggested that the fiery nature of recent Clasico clashes may have a detrimental effect on the national team, but Madrid defender Arbeloa says the mood remains positive.

“The relationship between the players is good,” he said. “We know how to draw the line between club and country. We all have the same goal, which is to get to the final and win the European Championship.

“Obviously if people do have their differences they will have to be resolved, but right now the atmosphere is good.”

Athletic Bilbao star Javi Martinez, meanwhile, believes Spain will be able to cope with the absence of injured Barcelona duo Carles Puyol and David Villa this summer.

"It's true that they are two very important players when it comes to winning trophies, but we are lucky to have other players who can step into their shoes and perform,” Martinez said. “I'm sure they won't be missed if we all pull together."


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