Kepa’s Return to Real Madrid: A Fresh Start Under Ancelotti’s Wing

Kepa’s Return to Real Madrid: A Fresh Start Under Ancelotti’s Wing

Kepa Arrizabalaga has returned to La Liga, rejoining the league where he once showcased his prowess and established his reputation as a goalkeeper before his move to Chelsea for an astonishing £71.6 million. With the guidance of the “magician” Carlo Ancelotti, fans anticipate that the Spanish international will regain his peak form soon.

Thibaut Courtois’ severe injury compelled President Florentino Perez to search for a worthy replacement. Hence, it was not surprising when Kepa Arrizabalaga was chosen on a one-year loan deal with a purchase option in the summer of 2024. This transfer evoked memories of 2018, when Courtois moved from Chelsea to Real and Kepa left Athletic Bilbao to join Chelsea.

During Zinedine Zidane’s tenure at Real Madrid, the quest for a suitable goalkeeper to replace Keylor Navas was ongoing. Alongside Courtois and Donnarumma, Kepa’s name emerged as a potential fit. Athletic Bilbao, however, was reluctant to part with the Spanish star, yet they entertained negotiations with Los Blancos. Despite rumors suggesting that Kepa had completed all necessary formalities and passed medical checks, the deal mysteriously fell through. Later it was revealed that Zidane wasn’t keen on acquiring him, with various reasons cited for the failure.

Julen Lopetegui was the one who brought Thibaut Courtois to Santiago Bernabeu after succeeding Zidane. Conversely, Kepa Arrizabalaga joined Stamford Bridge for a record fee of £71.6 million. Despite standing at a mere 1.86 meters tall, the 1994-born goalkeeper consistently pulled off incredible saves due to his sharp reflexes. However, after two years at Chelsea, he gradually lost his starting position to Edouard Mendy. Besides performance issues, the Spanish star also faced challenges with his on-field attitude, notably clashing with manager Maurizio Sarri during the 2019 League Cup final.

Kepa’s position continued to be under threat this summer as The Blues successfully acquired Robert Sanchez from Brighton for £25 million. The 28-year-old goalkeeper also received an offer from Bayern Munich before agreeing to join Real Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti is praised for his adeptness in managing players. He may not be as tactical as Pep Guardiola or as dictatorial as Mourinho, but he possesses exceptional people skills. His extensive experience coaching top European clubs like AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich, PSG, Chelsea, and even Real Madrid from 2013 to 2015, sets him apart.

Toni Kroos’ journey at Real Madrid is a testament to Ancelotti’s influence. Initially overlooked by Pep Guardiola during their time at Bayern, Kroos quickly found his place under Ancelotti’s leadership. He replaced Xabi Alonso and became the midfield maestro, flourishing under Ancelotti’s guidance. Kroos not only became an exceptional player but also earned numerous major titles with Real Madrid.

Ancelotti’s touch is also evident in Vinicius Junior’s development. Evolving from a raw talent, Vinicius transformed into a world-class forward, gradually replacing Karim Benzema. Ancelotti’s nurturing benefited players like Federico Valverde and Rodrygo, who were provided ample opportunities to grow and impress the fans.

Looking at how Jude Bellingham thrives at Real Madrid, Kepa Arrizabalaga might find solace in entrusting his future to the 64-year-old mentor. Despite the immense pressure from his £115 million transfer fee, Bellingham displays astonishing confidence. In the La Liga opener, he shone with a spectacular goal against Athletic Bilbao, while Rodrygo netted the opening goal.

In conclusion, if Kepa maintains focus and adheres to Ancelotti’s coaching, he could very well have a promising future at Santiago Bernabeu.

Hoan Le