Kepa joins Real Madrid on loan

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal.

The 28-year-old Spain international, who joined the Blues in a £71.6m switch from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018, is contracted at the Bernabeu until June next year.

Real Madrid were looking for a new goalkeeper after Thibaut Courtois suffered an ACL injury in training on Thursday which is expected to keep him out for most of the season.

A statement on Real’s official website said: “Real Madrid CF and Chelsea FC have agreed on the loan of the player Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is linked to the club this season, until June 30, 2024.

“In his five seasons at Chelsea, he has won one Champions League, one Club World Cup, one European Super Cup and one Europa League.

“This year, he has received the award for the best save in the Premier League for the 2022/2023 season.

“Kepa is an international with the Spanish team, with which he has been proclaimed champion of the 2023 Nations League. With Spain, he also won the U19 European Championship in 2012.”

Kepa will be formally presented as a Real Madrid player on Tuesday afternoon.

His return to Spain follows the arrival of 25-year-old compatriot Robert Sanchez at Stamford Bridge.

Kepa has been inconsistent during his time at Stamford Bridge

Sanchez made a £25m switch from Brighton earlier this month and started Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Liverpool as youngster Lucas Bergstrom provided the back-up on the bench.

Kepa has 163 Chelsea appearances under his belt and was handed the captaincy last season.

However, he has become surplus to requirements under new boss Mauricio Pochettino and will now work for a season under former Chelsea head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“The club wish him well for the season ahead in Madrid, where he will work with former Chelsea head coach Carlo Ancelotti,” Chelsea said in a statement.

Real Madrid play their second La Liga game on Saturday, against Almeria, where Kepa could make his debut.

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