Real Madrid officially announced the acquisition of Kepa Arrizabalaga from Chelsea on a season-long loan this Monday. Notably, there is no option for a permanent deal at the loan’s conclusion. Kepa is set to step in for the sidelined Thibaut Courtois as the main shot-stopper for Los Blancos.
Interestingly, Kepa almost joined Real Madrid five years ago as a potential replacement for Keylor Navas. However, the move was halted by then-coach Zinedine Zidane. Following this, Courtois made his move from Chelsea to the Santiago Bernabeu, prompting the London club to sign Kepa from Athletic Bilbao.
Now, half a decade later, Kepa finds himself at the Bernabeu, bringing with him a wealth of experience. During his introductory press conference, he remarked,
“I arrive more mature, in one of the best moments of my career. I guarantee commitment and hard work.”
After a good season in London, where he featured in 39 matches and stood out as one of Chelsea’s top performers, Kepa also solidified his position in the Spanish national team. While it was widely speculated he would join Bayern Munich, the allure of playing in Spain was irresistible. Bayern’s chief executive, Jan-Christian Dreesen, commented on the situation,
“We were close to presenting Kepa, but being Spanish, he chose Real Madrid.”
Expressing his eagerness to start his journey in Madrid, Kepa stated, “The decision was straightforward. When Real Madrid approached, everything accelerated.
I’m prepared to give my 100% for the club. Today is among the most special days of my career.”
Club president, Florentino Pérez, warmly welcomed Kepa, describing him as “one of the world’s best goalkeepers.” He acknowledged Kepa’s dedication, saying,
“We recognize your commitment and the effort you’ve put in to wear Real Madrid’s crest.”
Kepa also took a moment to wish a swift recovery to Courtois and his fellow teammates, Éder Militão and Arda Güler, both of whom recently suffered knee injuries.
Real Madrid will face Almeria in their next Spanish league fixture this Saturday.