LIV Golf rebel Rahm is a huge Athletic Bilbao fan and is even a club ambassador

Jon Rahm name-checked his beloved Athletic Bilbao as he confirmed his controversial switch to LIV Golf.

Despite previous declarations that he would stay loyal to the PGA Tour, Rahm has been wooed by a Saudi-backed rebel series, who have handed him a mammoth £450m contract. The deal makes him one of the highest-paid sportsmen on the plant.

The 29-year-old becomes the second current major champion on the LIV circuit after US PGA winner Brooks Koepka. However, the switch could wreck his chances of appearing in the Ryder Cup again, with LIV players currently barred from representing the European team.

READ MORE: Jon Rahm boasts 'the money is great' as he signs £450m LIV deal but fans slam 'hypocrite'

READ MORE: Rory McIlroy demands change to Ryder Cup rules as Jon Rahm joins LIV Golf

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Asked about the size of his pay packet, the Spaniard told Fox News: “I can't comment on any of that, nor do I want to. It is private and it is going to stay private. Listen, it was a great offer. The money is great, it is wonderful.”

The Masters champion also claimed the team focus of LIV Golf was a factor in his decision to leave the PGA Tour and brought up the La Liga club, which he is a lifelong fan of. He added: “Being a European, growing up as a fan of Athletic Bilbao.

“Hopefully some kids in the future, growing up in Spain, want to be part of this team that I’m going to build. It’s hopefully something I’m related to for a very long time, until I die, and I can make it something very special.”

Rahm was named an Athletic Club (as they are known in Spain) ambassador at the start of the year as part of the Basque club’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

"It is an honour to be the first in a list of great people,” said Rahm, who has been a club member for almost 20 years. “Being an Athletic ambassador and helping the club makes me very proud.

"I always try to make Athletic known all over the world. I tell people that it is almost like a religion here. There are few sports teams in the world that have traditions as old and deep-rooted as Athletic's."

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