Spanish star: I turned down Real Madrid so I could go to the World Cup

kepa arrizabalaga, athletic bilbao, urla, indica, 2017/18

20 March at 12:50

Not many people out there reject Real Madrid’s advances, that’s for sure. 

Yet that’s exactly what Kepa Arrizabalaga did this winter, and the Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper explained his decision in an interview today.

The Basque star was being linked to the Galacticos as the replacement of Keylor Navas, who Florentino Perez has been trying to replace for a long while.

“In order to play at the World Cup, I know I have to do well with my club, Athletic,” the goalkeeper told Cadena SER.

“Rejecting Madrid? It’s true that during the process, I decided to stay on the fringes. It was a time when I needed to think things through.

“It was a life decision, deciding which path to take in my career. I needed time to get together with my family and closest friends.”

The Madrid side is, admittedly, also being linked to a big name like David De Gea, or Thibaut Courtois. Reports today indicate that they like Alisson of Roma, too.

Yet Kepa is already Spain’s number 2, and had another cracking game at the weekend in Athletic’s 2-0 loss to Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

“In the end, I wanted to be sure and weigh everything up. Once it became clear, I made the decision I made by signing a contract for several years.

“I’m very happy about the path I’ve taken. I’ve signed on for seven more years.”

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