Kepa Arrizabalaga is the cover star of the latest issue of Chelsea magazine and in his exclusive interview the Spanish goalkeeper explains what he has learned from his first year in England and the Premier League.
Kepa joined the Blues from Athletic Bilbao at the start of last season and settled well over the course of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge, as well as lifting the first trophy of his career when we beat Arsenal in the Europa League final.
However, as a goalkeeper, apart from the silverware, the thing which has made the biggest impression on him since coming to west London is the English pride in keeping the opposition attack at bay to record a zero on the scoresheet.
‘What I’ve found in this country is that great value is placed on keeping a clean sheet,’ he tells the magazine, explaining that particular statistic doesn’t quite carry the same weight in his native land.
‘In Spain, things are valued differently than here – they calculate how many goals you concede over the course of the whole season and judge goalkeepers on that, but in the UK they count how many clean sheets you had during the season. It’s very valuable for us as a team and everyone seems to appreciate that.’
He also reveals he rarely feels pressure or nerves ahead of a match, whatever the stage and whoever the opponents, instead focusing on his love of the game in the moments building up to kick-off.
‘I’m not really a person that is prone to anxiety, or feeling nervous,’ he adds. ‘I generally don’t feel that way before a game. What I always think is, at the end of the day, it’s football – that’s what it is – and football is what we do, it’s what we like, and it’s what we enjoy.
‘Of course, when there are really important games there is a bit more tension, a bit more adrenaline, but I wouldn’t call it nervousness.’
On the road to Munich
As Chelsea magazine continues to recount the Blues’ greatest-ever Champions League matches, this month it is the turn of our incredible comeback against Napoli en route to winning the competition for the only time in 2012. As well as recalling all the action and backdrop to one of the most dramatic nights in the club's history, not to mention one of the most incredible atmospheres created at the Bridge, you can hear the recollection of some of the game’s heroes, including Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry.
As an added bonus, there is also a look at the moment Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles silenced the travelling Benfica fans in SW6 in the next round by scoring a screamer in the dying minutes – the perfect way to put an end to the taunting he had received throughout the match for his Porto links.
With Academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori all in the goals during the early stages of the 2019/20 season, there is a look at 10 of the most prolific scorers to have come through the Chelsea youth ranks before starring for the first team. As you would expect, there are some of the greatest strikers ever to grace the Stamford Bridge pitch on the list, but also a few lesser known names, as well as a couple of true Chelsea legends you may not naturally associate with goal scoring.
French World Cup winner Frank Leboeuf demonstrates his unique take on football and life in the former player interview, as well as explaining how his move to Chelsea in 1996 came about, what it was really like behind the scenes at the club in the Nineties, and why acting has always been the other passion in his life.
The latest former Chelsea hero to have his career shown through the camera lens is Steve Clarke, with some of the best photographs from the Scot’s days as a defender, coach and manager, spanning nearly 30 years, dusted off and used to tell his story in detail.
There are further interviews with Chelsea Women’s longest-serving player Drew Spence and Academy midfielder Myles Peart-Harris, as well as all the latest club news and plenty more.
The October edition of Chelsea magazine is available to buy for £3.95 in the Chelsea Megastore at Stamford Bridge and all good newsagents. It can also be ordered online.