Who is Kepa Arrizabalaga?
Kepa Arrizabalaga Revuelta occasionally referred to simply as Kepa, is a Spanish goalkeeper who plays for Premier League club Chelsea and his country’s national team.
Born in Ondarroa, Biscay, Kepa joined Athletic Bilbao’s youth sector at Lezama in 2004, aged ten. The Spaniard made his senior debut with the farm side in January 2012, in Tercera Division.
He was promoted to the reserves the following year to cover for injured Jon Ander Serantes. Kepa appeared regularly for the B’s.
In 2015, the star was shipped out on loan to Segunda Division’s SD Ponferradina until June. In July 2015, Arrizabalaga switched to Real Valladolid also in the second league, on a season-long loan deal.
After returning from loan, Kepa was included in the senior team, initially as third-choice behind Iago Herrerin and Gorka Iraizoz. Arrizabalaga made his debut in the first tier on 11 September 2016.
Two years later, Athletic Bilbao announced on their official website that Arrizabalaga had paid his required buy-out clause (€80 million / £71.6 million), making him the world’s most expensive shot-stopper (only weeks after the record was set by Alisson Becker’s transfer to Liverpool) and move to Chelsea on a seven-year deal was confirmed.
in 2020, after difficult two seasons, Chelsea signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes and Arrizabalaga was dropped to the bench.
What is Kepa’s international career like?
After appearing for his nation’s under-18s, Kepa was called up to the under-19 team for the 2012 UEFA European Championship.
The youngster was the starter during the tournament, as Spain were crowned champions; He missed the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup because of injury. In 2013, the Spaniard was called up to the under-21 team.
The Spaniard was called up to the senior side in 2017 ahead of a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier versus Israel and a friendly with France.
He got his first cap on 11 November of that year, playing the full match in a 5–0 friendly win against Costa Rica in Malaga.
How can we describe Kepa Arrizabalaga?
As a prospect and youngster, Arrizabalaga was considered as one of the most promising young shot-stoppers in Europe, known for his consistency, shot-stopping ability, agility, speed, and quick reflexes.
He was also known for his skill with the ball at his feet, distribution, and footwork, as well as the ability to rush off his line.
Former stopper Manuel Almunia praised Kepa in 2017 as a goalkeeper with “good movement” and “good, strong feet” and also described Arrizabalaga as a keeper who possessed “presence and character.”
The next year, former Athletic Bilbao star Andoni Goikoetxea described the player as being “good in the air,” saying that “he jumps and catches the ball very well,” while Bleacher Report’s Richard Fitzpatrick described the Spain international as being “good at marshalling a defence.”