Five things you didn't know about Chelsea's world-record goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga

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Kepa Arrizabalaga has signed for Chelsea

Chelsea have broken the record transfer fee for a goalkeeper to bring Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao, forking out £71million to replace Thibaut Courtois.

The eye-popping figure underlines the young shot-stopper’s talent, with Kepa long being considered one of the best No1s in the world.

Here are five things you may not have known about the world’s most expensive netminder.

Champion of Europe

Arrizabalaga first burst onto the global stage at the U19 European Championships in 2012.

The same year the senior Spain squad won Euro 2012, the U19 side was giving everyone hope for the future with a triumph of their own.

Arrizabalaga started in goal for that side, alongside players like Suso, Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu, and starred in the semi-final against France, saving spot-kicks from Samuel Umtiti and Geoffrey Kondogbia in Spain’s dramatic penalty shootout win.

Stamp of approval

Though Zinedine Zidane advocated against his transfer to Real Madrid in January, Arrizabalaga comes with the backing of some well-renowned managers. It was Marcelo Bielsa who brought him into the Athletic Bilbao first team, and though he didn’t make an appearance under the Argentine, that was nonetheless quite the show of faith.

Current Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde gave him his debut, when the former was at Bilbao, and current Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui handed Arrizabalaga his first senior international cap, in a friendly last November.

Rejecting Madrid

Zidane may have convinced his club to pull out of a deal for the young goalkeeper, but the decision was seemingly mutual.

Reportedly, after passing a medical ahead of the move, Arrizabalaga himself rejected the transfer, preferring to stay at his boyhood club. He instantly signed a seven-year deal with a release clause that has now seen Athletic bag a record transfer fee for a goalkeeper.

While leaving his hometown club just six months after a signing a long-term contract may leave him open to accusations of disloyalty, deciding against a move to one of Spain’s biggest clubs and agreeing a contract with a release clause that inherently heaped the pressure on him showed his mental fortitude.

Sarri finally gets his man

Speaking of managers rating Arrizabalaga highly, the goalkeeper is going to play for a manager who’s already tried to sign him before.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri revealed this week that he was looking at a move for the young Spaniard last year, while in charge of Napoli, and thus he’s well aware of the 21-year-old’s talent.

For his part, Arrizabalaga says Sarri’s style of football should suit him, as he enjoys building play from the back – though he’s prone to taking a few risks with the ball at his feet, which can be costly.

Kepa’s birds fly high

Though the young goalkeeper took to football early on in his childhood, he balanced his interest in the sport with another passion: birds.

Kepa and his father used to train goldfinches to sing, and three of the youngster’s birds have even won singing competitions.

One of his pets was named Raikkonen, presumably after former Formula One world champion and current Ferrari driver Kimi.

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Arsenal boss Unai Emery relishing Man City test in Premier League opener

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Unai Emery is relishing the challenge of beginning his Arsenal tenure against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in what will be Emery’s first game as Arsenal’s head coach.

The 46-year-old replaced Arsene Wenger in May and, with a trip to Chelsea six days later, Emery could not have wished for a more difficult start to life in England.

But he is ready for the challenge – even if he is aware of the threat posed by last season’s runaway champions.

“We want to start well, we want to play and we want to show our quality, our work in this month tactically and with our spirit,” he said.

“I want to show and to be together with the supporters and to start a new way, a new process. With the same players and also our new players with us, and with a new culture and new staff.”

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Jurgen Klopp asks Liverpool to summon the spirit of 'Rocky Balboa' to close gap on Manchester City

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Jurgen Klopp has issued a rallying cry for Liverpool ahead of the new season.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his players have to summon the spirit of Rocky Balboa if they are to close the gap to defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

The Reds boss chose to reference the plot of Rocky IV in his response to how his side would go about bridging last season’s 25-point deficit to Pep Guardiola’s side.

In the Sylvester Stallone film the eponymous hero wins a 15th-round knockout against remorseless 100-win heavyweight Ivan Drago, who had previously killed Apollo Creed in a fight in which Balboa was in his fellow American’s corner.

“We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago,” said Klopp.

“We are the ones who have to do more, fight more, and that must be our attitude.

“In the moment someone thinks we reached already a point then that is when you start disappointing yourself and the people around you.

“Why should we do that? We didn’t reach anything so far. We went to finals. Should we go to a final again we should try to win it this time.

“We have to be like Rocky.”

A recent survey revealed Liverpool were the Premier League’s unluckiest club last season, with decisions costing them 12 points.

And while Klopp would like that fortune to change he knows there are other factors which are more important.

But having spent £170million this summer on midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho, goalkeeper Alisson and Xherdan Shaqiri Liverpool are seen as the genuine rivals to City for the title.

Liverpool have strengthened heavily with the likes of Keita.

Liverpool have strengthened heavily with the likes of Keita.

“I know a lot of people think that because we were active in the transfer window but that is part of the business, it doesn’t decide anything,” added the German ahead of Sunday’s opener at home to West Ham.

“There would always be a point where we spent a bit more money. The last few years, I have sat here and had to defend our transfer behaviour, that we sold more than we brought in, but that all made sense.

“We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League and to be as successful as possible. Step by step, we have come closer.

“We want to be, it has been clear for ages, champion of England and winning the league but how can we say that? What about United? What about the other clubs?

“The champions Manchester City did not lose any player and brought in (Riyad) Mahrez, so it doesn’t make them weaker. They are top-quality.

“We have to be more consistent, we know that. We have to be more clinical in the right moments, more aggressive in the right moments.

“We can improve everything: we can improve our offensive game, we can improve our defensive game.

“We have to try to reach the highest, that is always my expectations.

“If you ask me whether it is the best squad I have ever had or whatever I don’t think about that because it is not about what we have now it is about what we make of it, how often we deliver, how often we bring ourselves in a mood to fight with these Premier League teams who want to have our points.”

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