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Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga explains the main differences between La Liga and the Premier League

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Kepa Arrizabalaga says he "likes so much" English football as he reflects on his 18 months at Chelsea.

The Spaniard joined the Blues from Athletic Club in summer 2018 for £71m - a world-record fee for a goalkeeper.

And Kepa admits it took a while for him to adjust to the speed and intensity of the Premier League.

"It’s a little bit different to playing in La Liga," he told Chelsea's official website (opens in new tab)

"The players, and the goalkeeper also, are less protected by the referee. You need to be stronger in some balls, because the referee doesn’t say it’s a foul. You need to learn a little bit these situations.

"You also need to understand English football is very quick, can have less control or less touches, but more opportunities. The ball can be far away, but in two touches it’s in the box, so I need to be ready for 90 minutes.

"The games are very good to watch, with a lot of goals, speed. You need some time, but then it’s fun to play.

"I like so much the English football, the spirit of the stadium, the supporters. As players you like to play in this atmosphere. I am happy and with good feeling here."

Kepa also reflected on how he learned to play out from the back, having been brought up with a possession-based style at the Athletic academy.

"I feel confident and I feel good playing with my feet," he added.

"When I was growing up I would watch Spain play. When you are young you try to copy what you see. It was the Spanish national team’s way of playing, so we tried to do that from a young age.

"At Bilbao it was something they wanted us goalkeepers to do in the academy. Then it depended on the manager in the first team. It changed a little bit when I was there. We played a bit longer because it we had two very strong strikers.

"But also in the national team, and before in the young national teams, we need to play very much with our feet. I think I always have had good play with my feet, but obviously every year you are improving.

"Of course you work on it with your team-mates and the goalkeeper coach, but also you keep your time after training: to try some passes, try some situations that can happen in the game. The final target is to improve and be better."

Chelsea (opens in new tab) return to Premier League action against Newcastle (opens in new tab) on Saturday.


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