Alvaro Arbeloa has backed head coach Rafael Benitez to take Real Madrid to the next level as they aim to win La Liga for the first time since 2012.
The full-back, who came through the youth ranks at Madrid, worked under Benitez at Liverpool before returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009.
Madrid got off to an unspectacular start this term with a goalless draw away at Sporting Gijon, although they bounced back with a 5-0 rout over Real Betis last time out.
But Arbeloa has confidence in Benitez, who led Valencia to two Liga titles and a UEFA Cup triumph during his last stint in Spain.
“Once it became known that he was going to return, everyone started asking me about him [Benitez],” Arbeloa told the Madrid official website.
“Rafa is a very methodical coach, a very hard worker, highly demanding and I assure you that we are going to become better players.”
Benitez’s tenure began amidst reports of a rift between himself and Cristiano Ronaldo, who has yet to score this campaign for club or country, but Arbeloa has insisted that the squad is fully unified.
“While you might hear that certain people aren’t happy with him [Benitez] or that he shows more affection to certain players, for me, at this stage of the game, nothing surprises me anymore,” he added.
“He has gotten off to a very good start. It doesn’t matter which manager we have because there will always be people out there looking to portray an image of the team that isn’t true.
“The team is more united than ever. Following a year in which we failed to meet the targets we set for ourselves, we know this year is very important for us and we have to be extremely united.”