Athletic Bilbao is my home - Kepa explains Real Madrid rejection

Kepa Arrizabalaga believes staying at Athletic Bilbao amid reported links to Real Madrid is the right decision as the club is his "home".

The goalkeeper was rumoured to be close to joining Madrid only to agree a seven-and-a-half-year contract on Tuesday.

Kepa's new deal includes a release clause that was set at EUR80million, up from the figure of EUR20m in his previous contract.

And the 23-year-old says ignoring speculation he was set to join Madrid to stay at Athletic is the correct move for this stage in his career.

"I am very happy to continue in what I consider my home," Kepa said. "I have been here for almost 15 years, I joined when I was nine.

"It is a very important moment. for me and for my career, I am happy that after a long negotiation everything has come to fruition. Since I was little I've been an Athletic fan and always will be.

"Those who are close to me or more know me know that I am a person who likes to analyse everything before making a decision. I have taken my time and I want to thank the club that respected it to make my decision.

"There have been proposals but I considered that the best thing for me was to remain at Athletic for a long time."

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane refuted claims he won an internal "battle" over the club's supposed pursuit of Kepa.

"I said the other day that if the strategy of the club wants it, then all players can come in June," Zidane told a news conference. "But my idea for the club - and we're working together - is not to change things at the moment and that's all."

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