At only 23 years old, Kepa Arrizabalaga is on the fast track to become an Athletic Club legend. The Lezama graduate was recently a guest on El Larguero, a radio show on Cadena Ser, and was asked about icon José Ángel Iribar and the possibility of being in the Spain squad for the World Cup. Kepa was quick to point out the importance of Iribar and that he knows he must play well at the club level to have a chance to making the trip to Russia this summer.
“Even though he is a legend, Iribar is still very approachable and he does his best to help everyone at the club in a very calm and under stable way. I did not get to see him play personally, but he is a very special person for the clubs and the fans. The World Cup? To be in the running to play in Russia, I need to play well for my club, for Athletic. That is important. I hope that I will get to go to Russia and enjoy the World Cup.”
In closing, Kepa was also asked about his decision to reject Real Madrid in favor of signing a new contract with Athletic Club. He said that it was a time to reflect on his life and make the best decision for his career ahead. Eventually, he chose to stay at his boyhood club and he says that he is very happy with the decision.
“During the process I decided to stay on the sidelines and not give any statements. It was a time of a lot of reflection and I knew that whatever decision I made would shape the direction of my footballing career. In the end, following the advice of my family and closest friends, I decided to stay. Once I made the decision I wanted to get everything over with and sign quickly. I’m happy with the decision and I look forward to serving Athletic for the next eight years.”
Barring some unforeseen change, Kepa is expected to be a part of the Spain squad this summer. He has been serving as the main backup for David De Gea for over a year now and should retain that role moving forward. For now, the 23-year-old knows that he will need to continue playing at a high level as he and Athletic Club are hoping for a strong finish to the club calendar.