Kepa Arrizabalaga “I Would Like To Return To Athletic One Day”

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga is keeping the door open to return to Athletic in the future (Sky)

Athletic fans never forget and rarely do they forgive. When Kepa Arrizabalaga, who spent his entire childhood being developed at Lezama, decided to leave for Chelsea last summer the fans were understandably outraged. The move wasn’t necessarily a surprise considering that the goalkeeper nearly joined Real Madrid months prior, but the starlet had recently signed a new contract and many had hoped that he was committed to a future at San Mamés.

Since Kepa’s departure, Unai Simón quickly won over the fans and has become the starting goalkeeper at Athletic. The 22-year-old has played at a very high level, which has helped heal the pain of losing Kepa, but it isn’t easy to brush off a player who was seen by many as the second coming of José Ángel Iribar. Arrizabalaga is in England now though he could make his way back to San Mamés in the future.

“Of course I would like to return to Athletic one day”, Kepa recently told El Chiringuito in an interview. “I don’t know when or how, but I would like to retire at Athletic. It’s a club that I have great memories of. From the age of nine I went to Lezama every day in a taxi or train with four friends.” A return may very well be possible in the future, but for now the idea seems ludicrous considering the current situation.

Kepa was also asked about his failed move to Real Madrid where Zinedine Zidane rejected the signing in favor of playing Keylor Navas at the time. The former Athletic goalkeeper dodged the question but did admit that “there was contact with several teams” in the months leading up to his departure.

“I renewed with the idea of playing many years with Athletic”, Kepa explained. “I left after six months and that was the only contradiction.” The renewal did serve to raise the goalkeeper’s release clause from €20 million to €80 million, but most fans would have preferred the player over the money. With Simón in goal Athletic have a top level starter for years to come but Kepa isn’t closing the door on returning home at some point.

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