Kepa targets permanent Real Madrid transfer

Kepa Arrizabalaga said he wants to stay at Real Madrid for the long term as he was unveiled as the club’s latest signing on Tuesday, after arriving on loan to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois.

Madrid moved quickly to sign goalkeeper Kepa — who had been on the brink of joining Bayern Munich from Chelsea — when No.1 Courtois suffered an ACL tear in training last week.

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The Spain international, 28 joins Madrid just one game into the new LaLiga season, which saw Andriy Lunin start in goal in a 2-0 win away at Athletic Club.

“Let’s hope so,” Kepa said in a news conference, when asked if he’d like to see his season-long loan become permanent.

“Today is the first day. I’m here on loan. But we have time and we’ll see. Let’s hope with my effort, and my performance above all, I can make that happen.”

Kepa spent five years at Stamford Bridge after making an €80 million move — a record for a keeper — from Athletic Club in August 2018.

He was first choice for Chelsea for his first two seasons in the Premier League before losing his place in the team, and then winning it back during the 2022-23 campaign.

“I look at [my time at Chelsea] from a very positive point of view,” he said on Tuesday. “Being at a big club for five years, every year we fought for big trophies in Europe and in England.

“I had the chance to play with great players, to lift trophies for Chelsea. Just as in life, you have more difficult moments, but when I look back I see it all as positive, as good, as life experience.”

Kepa was close to signing for Madrid in January 2018 before the club decided not to push ahead with the deal at the last minute.

“I’m more mature [now] for sure,” Kepa said. “I’m in one of the best moments of my career, after a great year, and I’m ready to face this challenge.

“What I can say is I won’t lack commitment and effort. It’s been an intense few days, but when I had the opportunity to come to Real Madrid, it was clear for me.

“You can’t predict anything in football,” he added, when asked if he expected a second chance to move to the Bernabeu. “You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. It changes a lot… Wherever I am, I give 100% for the team I’m at. It’s happened when it had to happen.”

Courtois is expected to be out of action for around seven months, meaning Kepa has the opportunity to start for Madrid for the majority of this season.

“It’s a moment of pride being at Real Madrid, with its legend, its trophies, its history,” he said. “I used to watch Iker Casillas, when I watched Real Madrid I always used to focus on Iker. It’s a big club, a historic club.”

Kepa will now compete with Lunin for a place in the team for Madrid’s next game, away at Almeria on Saturday.

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