Kepa explains why he turned down Real Madrid

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The Spain international goalkeeper had the chance to move to the Blancos, but instead opted to sign a new deal with Athletic

Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has said he strongly considered a move to Real Madrid during the January transfer window.

The 23-year-old came close to joining the European champions before eventually settling on a seven-and-a-half-year contract extension at San Mames, with a release clause of €80 million.

Already a senior Spain international, Kepa has racked up 44 top-flight appearances since his 2016 debut.

But the highly rated shot-stopper says the offer from Madrid was not the right choice for his future.

"It was a time of much reflection and the decision was one that would have shaped the direction of my sporting career," Kepa told the El Larguero radio show on Cadena Ser.

"In the end, following advice from my family and close friends, I opted to stay. I'm happy with the outcome and look forward to serving the club for the next eight years."

Kepa's decision to remain Athletic's number one came in view of the upcoming World Cup in Russia, where he is expected to be Spain's third-choice keeper behind David de Gea and Pepe Reina.

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"To be in the running for a Russia call-up, I need to be playing well for my club," Kepa added.

Athletic are currently 13th in La Liga following a 2-0 defeat at Barcelona on Sunday.

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