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When Kepa Arrizabalaga was presented in Valdebebas as a new Real Madrid player in August, everyone at the training ground assumed that the goalkeeper on loan from Chelsea had landed in the Spanish capital to be a starter. He had been undisputed in the Blues after the World Cup and Courtois' injury opened the doors of the Bernabéu for him. But in Riyadh he seems to have definitively lost the fight with Andriy Lunin for the position of Madrid's first goalkeeper.

Atletico's third goal in the derby may have doomed the Basque, who put the ball into his own net by misjudging a jump with Morata. He protested to Alberola Rojas about a possible foul by the striker, but the referee was clear that it had been a mistake by the goalkeeper.

Nor did he manage to stop the other two red and white goals, the first a header from Hermoso in which he made the statue and the second a shot from Griezmann that he did not reach. "His game was good, he couldn't do anything about the first two goals," Ancelotti defended him. But in his last sentence of the reply, the Italian may have sentenced the Basque: "On Sunday it will be either Kepa or Lunin," he declared.

Injury & Rotation

The Italian had already made it clear that the first-choice goalkeeper in the Super Cup did not have to be the starter for the rest of the season, but it sounds strange that the coach does not ensure the presence of the same goalkeeper in both the semi-finals and the final of such a short tournament. Numbers don't help Kepa.

This season, the former Athletic player has conceded 16 goals in 17 games, compared to six goals in 10 games conceded by the Ukrainian. 0.94 and 0.6 every 90 minutes. Too much difference in a battle that seemed even when Ancelotti, conditioned by Lunin's improvement and Kepa's injury, decided to rotate. A decision that was not on the table until December.

Carletto was always clear that Kepa was his first-choice goalkeeper. This was demonstrated in Vigo, where he did not hesitate to line up the Basque when he accumulated a week of work with his teammates. He played 13 consecutive games and was injured before the Champions League match against Braga on 24 October. That's where Lunin regained his chances, and he managed to turn around not only his situation at Madrid, but also his career.

Just for the Cup?

After leaving doubts in the few opportunities he had in the shadow of Courtois, this season the Ukrainian has convinced. He saved a penalty against Braga, with 0-0 on the scoreboard, and has kept six clean sheets. Only Napoli at the Bernabéu were able to score more than one goal. On Wednesday in Riyadh, Kepa conceded three for the second time this season. The other was in the 3-1 win at the Metropolitano, the only defeat of the season.

The feeling in Valdebebas is that the Basque will win the Cup and the Ukrainian will play in La Liga and the Champions League round of 16.

  • Real Madrid
  • football
  • European Super Cup
  • Carlo Ancelotti