Kepa Arrizabalaga, the 8th Athletic keeper to play for Spain

The 23-year-old makes his debut in tonight's friendly against Costa Rica to follow in the footsteps of Vidal, Blasco, Echevarría, Carmelo, Iribar, Zubizarreta and Aranzubia.


Kepa Arrizabalaga became the eighth Athletic Club goalkeeper to be capped at full international level by Spain after he was handed his debut in tonight's friendly with Costa Rica.

Kepa Arrizabalaga during the warm-up before his debut for Spain at La Rosaleda.

Kepa, the 100th Athletic Club player to be capped by Spain

The 23-year-old, a regular at youth level, has been called up nine times by the senior side but had to wait until tonight's meeting in Málaga to gain his first cap. He become the latest in a list of Athletic Club keepers who have guarded the net for Spain which includes Manuel Vidal (1927), Gregorio Blasco (1930), José María Echevarría (1941), Carmelo Cedrún (1954), José Ángel Iribar (1963), Andoni Zubizarreta (1983) and Dani Aranzubia (2004). In the list of Athletic who have made the squad but never got to play are Vicente Biurrun (called twice in 1989) and Juanjo Valencia (who made the list once, in 1995).

Athletic are the third club to have contributed the most players to Spain's national team after Barcelona and Real Madrid; 129 Culés and 122 madridistas have represented La Roja while Kepa Arrizabalaga becomes the 100th Athletic player to be capped by Spain

The first Athletic keeper to play for Spain was Manuel Vidal, who came on as a sub for Ricardo Zamora in the friendly against France on 22 May 1927 - a match which Spain won 1-4.

Out of all of Athletic's international keepers, Iribar, with 49 appearances has the most caps. El Chopo was a legend, defending the Athletic goal for 18 seasons and featuring in the side which won the 1964 European championships - Spain's first major trophy. Zubizarreta played 126 times for La Roja, but only 16 of those games were when he was with the Bilbaínos.

Athletic's Spanish international goalkeepers

NameMatches playedYear of debut
Vidal 1 1927
Blasco 5 1930
Echevarría 1 1941
Carmelo 13 1954
Iribar 49 1963
Zubizarreta 14 1983
Aranzubia 1 2004