Kepa Arrizabalaga has experienced a major turning point in his life. And he can’t get enough of it. He’s been through some tough moments in his career, but now he’s back to his best.
The new coach of the Spanish national team, Luis de la Fuente, doesn’t like to reveal his line-up in advance, so even the players don’t know who will be in the starting line-up until the last tactical meeting. Except for one name.
Kepa Arrizabalaga. “It’s Kepa and 10 others,” joke the Spanish national team. The 28-year-old goalkeeper has a lot of confidence from the new coach and Miguel Ángel, the national team’s goalkeeping coach. Kep’s life has taken a big turn.
He started the season as a substitute at Chelsea and away from the national team. After six months, however, the coaches at both places changed and Kepa is suddenly number one at both Stamford Bridge and La Roja.
“He’s like a kid with new shoes. He never stops smiling,” a source close to Kepa told Relevo. The Basque native has been through some tough times.
He joined Chelsea for 80 million euros and became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper. Logically, he was under a lot of pressure, but for the first two seasons he stood up to it and played a great game. But then there was a huge drop in form, Kepa started making schoolboy mistakes, became the laughing stock of fans around the world and Thomas Tuchel replaced him with Edouard Mendy.
Kepa’s decline was due to a break-up with his long-time partner, which left the Spanish goalkeeper very distraught and unable to concentrate on his football.
Now, however, he is back to his best and it shows. Graham Potter has returned him to the Chelsea goal, as has Luis de la Fuente in the Spanish national team.
The only problem may arise when Unai Simón, the undisputed number one under former coach Luis Enrique, recovers. De la Fuente is also counting on the Bilbao goalkeeper, but according to Spanish backroom sources, Kepa should remain number one.
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