Kepa Arrizabalaga was one of Los Blancos’ first-choice replacements for Thibaut Courtois after the latter suffered an ACL tear early in the season.
Kepa spoke to the MARCA earlier this week in a detailed interview where he gave his view on a plethora of topics including his move to Real Madrid. Here are the snippets from his recent media interaction.
The goalkeeper first spoke about his move to Real Madrid and how the opportunity unexpectedly landed at his doorstep one fine day.
“Yes, it was all pretty fast. A great joy and an exciting challenge.”
Bayern Munich were the frontrunners to sign Kepa this summer, but Los Blancos’ entry into the race turned things around. Kepa reasoned out why he chose the Spanish giants over Bayern, saying,
“In the end, Real Madrid is Real Madrid. When Real Madrid calls you, there are few things to think about.”
Kepa is no stranger to playing at Santiago Bernabeu having played at the stadium several times for both La Roja and on the visiting team for UCL games. Speaking on his past experience at the stadiums, he said,
“In the last three seasons, with Chelsea, we had faced Madrid and always when we arrived I turned left, to the visiting locker room. But I always wanted to turn right, to the home locker room. I had played there with the national team, but doing it with Madrid in the new Bernabéu was a pleasure.”
“The stadium is spectacular, the atmosphere is tremendous and I have already been able to experience the first comeback. The game got complicated for us. Getafe is a team that defends very well,” he added on the comeback win against Getafe.
The new signing then gave his two cents on his incorporation in the dressing room, saying,
“Yes, I am very well on the team. I already knew a lot of colleagues. I feel very good in the city. I think that adapting when returning to Spain is much easier.”
On his relationship with Thibaut Courtois and whether he had got the chance to talk to the Belgian shot-stopper, Kepa said.
“We are on every day of work in Valdebebas, we talk every day, we greet each other, we cross paths.”
“I have always had a good relationship with the goalkeepers. When I have played and when I have not. Healthy competition is good for the team,” he added on his competition with Andriy Lunin at the club.
Jude Bellingham has been the signing of the summer so far, having scored five goals in his first four games for the club. Kepa commented on the youngster’s impact so far and his maturity on the field.
“It’s a little surprising how old he is, how mature he is and how he behaves in the field.”
The Spanish goalkeeper was then asked what he brings to the table at Real Madrid, to which he said,
“I can bring experience, add my grain of sand in each game and try to give the team defensive solidity.”
The topic of conversation then shifted to the objectives he had in mind for his time at Real Madrid. Kepa had no hesitation in aiming for the stars.
“To try to win every game, try to give my best version, try to get the team to score as many points as possible so that in Cup and Champions League competitions we reach the final and try to win them.”
Finally, he addressed the topic of Kylian Mbappe’s transfer to Real Madrid and how it was seen within the club.
“A lot of people thought it was going to happen. When I arrived and entered the locker room, the feeling, and what the club communicated, was something else. I think the end of the market has been quite quiet in that sense.”
Brahim Diaz, Ceballos speak out after Real Madrid 2-0 Las Palmas: “Should have scored more”
It was not smooth sailing for Real Madrid against Las Palmas on Wednesday night. Carlo Ancelotti’s rotations meant that the complete first-choice XI did not start, but that did not affect the result in any manner.
Los Blancos put two goals past the visitors to record their sixth win of the league season and regain the table-top spot in La Liga.
However, the difference on the scoreboard could have been far greater had the men in white put away their chances clinically.
Brahim Diaz, who scored Real Madrid’s opening goal on the night, spoke to the media after the game on a plethora of topics. He began with a description of the team’s performance at Santiago Bernabeu.
“We have created many chances. We should have scored more, but we have played a very complete game. It has been won, which after a defeat is always beautiful, and here at the Bernabéu even more.”
“We have played a very good game, we have been able to create superiority and many chances. The important thing is that we have won,” he added.
“The team has been very good, we have known how to compete, pressure, and play our game,” he concluded on the performance.
Speaking on his goal and how the opportunity spawned out of the team’s buildup play, Diaz said,
“I had the calm that I hadn’t had before at that time. Lucas gave an incredible pass. I looked before, I saw that all the defenders were behind, I had the patience to place it and score the goal. I’m very happy to have put it in.”
The Spanish youngster also opened up on his feelings over playing at Santiago Bernabeu and netted his first goal at home.
“It’s incredible, a pride. You can’t talk because it’s something unique. Put my first goal of the season in my house, even more.”
“I can only thank the fans. I have had an incredible welcome and an exceptional affection. I’m very happy to be at home and to play for this shield,” he added on the special fans cheering him on from the stands.
Finally, the man of the moment gave his two cents on his role under Carlo Ancelotti and the position he occupies on the field.
“Ancelotti asks me to be vertical, to try to create superiority by sometimes coming to space or in short.”
“[He expects me] to be the wildcard man, so to speak, to create superiority. And also, when you can, go to the back so that the team opens a little more and there is more space inside,” he added.
Ceballos happy with win after derby defeat
Dani Ceballos was the next Real Madrid player to face the press. The Spanish midfielder suffered an injury early in preseason and missed the team’s opening games of the season through the same.
Speaking about the win after the defeat against Atletico Madrid, he said: “After the stumbling block the other day, it was important to end up with good feelings in this game. The team has added the three points, which is the most important thing.”
The midfielder went on to praise his team for the attacking mentality against Las Palmas and the incisiveness in attack.
“We have entered the game very well, we have been aggressive and we have created many opportunities. We’ll have to worry when we don’t have them.”
“Right now the important thing is that the players at the top are having them. It’s very good that Joselu, who is our striker, has scored.”
On the attacking department and the resources at Ancelotti’s disposal, Ceballos said:
“We have a very large squad. Both Joselu and Brahim, as well as other players who are rejoining, are the ones who are going to make this team reach the final stretch with options to fight for everything.
“I am very happy for them, for the goals, and for the attitude they have shown today.”
Ceballos touched upon the difficulty in returning to the highest level after being out of action for a prolonged period and how he coped with it.
“After about two months without competing, returning to a good team like Las Palmas, who play very well, has not been easy at all. I’m physically well to help the team in whatever it takes.”
Finally, the midfield player spoke about his commitment to the Real Madrid crest and his dedication on the field.
“Last year’s ovations were incredible, something that stays for me. I try to leave my skin for this shield, but the most important thing is to do my bit, whatever the conditions may be,” he said.
Source: Real Madrid website