Easing Xabi Alonso’s heartache: if Arsenal’s Ospina is back, could it be done?

Two Champions League winners, two World Cup runners-up and a Spanish international reserve goalkeeper will do you good. But when it comes to Mexican-born Xabi Alonso, your heart cannot be sufficiently warmed.

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Alonso, 33, spoke of his longing to bring his boyhood heroes to a home fixture for the first time since he made his debut for the club as a skinny 18-year-old in 1998. “I’m very happy to come back for a special home match,” Alonso told reporters on Wednesday. “I am really lucky to play in this historic stadium, it’s a dream.”

Valencia have it all to do to stay in the Europa League this season. Photograph: Joel Carrer/EPA

Alonso will be replaced by Beto, a centre-back, in what could be a goalkeeper’s duel. He is keen to have his preferred option of Chile’s David Ospina, who has a wage agreement with Arsenal, on the pitch. “Ospina is obviously a very good goalkeeper who is working hard for the club and is a great person,” Alonso said. “I have a very good relationship with Ospina. It would be great to see him play against Valencia.”

The Spaniard, who will add assists to his ever-increasing goal tally, is currently at his hometown club where he played most of his teenage years. “This will be a very special moment,” Alonso said. “It’s something that has always been my dream, a scene I’ve been dreaming about, one that I hope happens this year.”

He told reporters that young footballers should be proud to grow up in Spain and said that Valencia has passed down its values to the younger players. “This is a game that needs to be played and played right,” Alonso said. “We have a great tradition here at Valencia and a very noble, good team.”

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