“Athletic doesn’t have a problem with number 9”

Do the names of Barkala and Arechabaleta (pre-candidates for the presidency of Athletic) ring a bell?


And do you follow carefully what they say?

Yes, but not much. I don’t usually pay much attention, I prefer to be on my own.

Two of his colleagues, since we are talking about elections, have advocated this week for Marcelino continuity.

And I also. It has been shown that he has helped us a lot to improve. We are coming to understand much better what he asks of us. That team that we are making is already very noticeable on the field, having a much clearer idea. He brings out the best in each player with a very high demand, but he improves a lot and clearly that’s the most important thing for the team.

I don’t know, are the pre-candidates getting into the gardens with the coach’s theme?

That is an external thing. The players do not think we have to talk about that. We don’t know much either. We will see what happens.

Last Sunday I am going to you very dedicated to Capa.

In football there are always players who do not play and there are roles to assume, but that does not mean that it is very hard to live a year like this, outside the team, not entering into dynamics. It is very difficult to carry, mentally too. Very proud of Capa because he has always known how to be with a smile and continue working.

That of the family, the gang?

In the end, you feel your team members are like friends, family members. And seeing that people love them so much makes you feel proud of that hobby and of that player who has earned that love so much.

They also love Villalibre!

In the end you always notice that heat of San Mamés and it is appreciated.

Are you still in contact with Aduriz?

I got on very well with him, in fact I’m wearing a 20. The relationship is there and you don’t have to talk much to know that whenever one needs it, the other is there. He always told me that you have to be patient and keep working.

Are you noticing grounds as a First Division footballer?

Yes it is noticeable. I am a type of player who at the beginning still has a little more fear and feels responsibility, but little by little you have more confidence, that residue. And it is very noticeable.

Aduriz is not there, but with Raúl García, as has been seen in some games, he also has a special relationship.

We get along really good. We are always hesitating and competing with each other. He is an extraordinarily good person, one of those that you value, that you want in your life and that on top of that helps me a lot on a day-to-day basis. I learn a lot from Rulo. When the other scores the goal, it is as if you had scored it yourself.

How do you remember your goal against Elche after so much injury?

With quite a bit of emotion. It’s been a tough year and mentally it’s difficult to deal with an injury. The worst thing that can happen to a footballer is to get injured because you’re out of the group, you don’t train, you’re hardly with your teammates… It’s difficult to take it, with so many relapses as well. That goal for me was a liberation.

Have there been times when you have had a really bad time?

Mentally it is difficult to deal with injuries and if it is one after another it costs more. I have been tough mentally and have continued to work day by day. That pays off and now I feel good.

Have you needed any special support?

Sure. You always need support at home, from the people you love. It is true that I like to carry things alone, but it is important to surround yourself with people who make your days happier. My family is the most important thing to me.

Pass by Iñaki Williams and goal by Villalibre against Osasuna. Couldn’t they play more times together?

Clearly. We understand each other very well and we know how to play together.

Williams hasn’t missed a league game in six years!

It seems barbaric to me. Physically he is a beast. I’ve already checked in the end what happens with injuries and he doesn’t even get injured, he doesn’t even miss a game for, for example, five yellow cards. He has a brutal merit and I hope he extends it many more. If they put all the coaches on him, it will be for a reason. Many times he is criticized and I find it quite bad. If he has played so many games it is because he deserves it.

Does Athletic have a problem with number 9?

There is no problem. There have been stages in which we have scored more or less goals, but in the end it goes by streaks. It is true that there is no such profile as Iago Aspas, who scores 15 goals every season, but there are other types of profiles that are valid as well.

What does Marcelinos ask of the strikers?

A lot of mobility, that we are daring, that we finish plays when we reach the area… In short, what is asked of any striker: to be there.

Has he gone faster than expected in any of his last games?

No. With more fear of relapse, yes, but since you are very eager, you can rush a little at times. Normality comes with time.