“I was the priority” – Saudi Pro League goalkeeper claims he was Real Madrid’s #1 choice before Kepa

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Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou recently claimed that he was Real Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper to sign in the summer transfer window over Kepa Arrizabalaga. Bono, however, chose to move to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, while Kepa moved to Santiago Bernabeu.

Al Hilal signed the Moroccan for a €21 million fee from Sevilla this summer. The Spanish shot-stopper, on the other hand, signed for Real Madrid on a year-long loan deal from Chelsea.

Bono recently claimed that he was in the priority list of Los Blancos’ but they decided against signing him due to the Africa Cup of Nations, which has been scheduled for January-February 2024. The goalkeeper will be Morocco’s first choice for the position in the upcoming competition and could miss up to a month of league football.

“Yes, I had an offer from Real Madrid — I was the priority. The African Cup complicated things so deal collapsed”, Bono told El Pelotazo (via Fabrizio Romano).

Real Madrid were forced to enter the market for a goalkeeper after Thibaut Courtois suffered an ACL injury ahead of the new season. He recently underwent surgery for the same and is set to miss a sizeable chunk of the ongoing season.

How Bono and Real Madrid’s Kepa have fared so far this season

Bono’s move to Al Hilal wasn’t completed before he played for Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup against Manchester City and their La Liga opener against Valencia. Sevilla lost both those matches – 5-4 on penalties to City and 2-1 to Los Ches.

Following his move to Al Hilal, he has made three appearances for them, keeping two clean sheets in the process. He has conceded three goals so far, all of which came in a 4-3 win over Al Ittihad.

Kepa, meanwhile, has made two Real Madrid appearances so far this term in La Liga. He has kept one clean sheet in the process while conceding one goal. Both his appearances have finished in wins for the Spanish giants.

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