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Player v. Player: Sergio Ramos v. Álvaro Arbeloa

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 25:  Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid in action during the Champions League Round of 16, First Leg match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 25, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Khalid KhanCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2009

Last season, the fullbacks, particularly left back, let down the team's defense. That does not mean that right back position was much good either. Sergio Ramos had been inconsistent, and had disciplinary issues with 14 yellow cards (plus four yellow cards for Spain) and one red card last season, with some defensive errors earning him some critics.

Ramos is arguably the best right back in the game with his speed, determination, and strength, but already in his four seasons with Real Madrid he has amassed an unenviable tally of nine red cards, which not going to inspire confidence in any coach.

Despite all this, now with the arrival of Álvaro Arbeloa and with Sergio Ramos in the right back position—both defensively strong and young players—Real Madrid can hope to have a solid defense (with Pepe and Raul Albiol in the center) coming season.

Arbeloa didn’t get much time on the field for Real in his last spell and would now be doubly motivated to do well and prove his worth. He had said after signing that, "my objective is to give it everything in training and try to win myself a place in the team, which is the objective of any player.

"And of course I want to help my teammates and the team to win titles, which in the end is what counts."

Before Arbeloa arrived, Miguel Torres could have been expected to earn another chance of proving himself as a fullback, but now he will be a substitute—if not sold to Real Zaragoza. He is good, but perhaps not good enough for Real Madrid.

Christoph Metzelder and Ezequiel Garay can also substitute for Ramos on the right and Marcelo/Drenthe (if not sold) on the left. Javier Velayos and Gary Kagelmacher from youth team might also get a chance if both Torres and Drenthe leave.

All the pieces of Real Madrid’s defense are now in place. Now it is up to them to show what they are capable of collectively.

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