Unai Lopez has had a productive year while on loan at Leganes this season. The 21-year-old has gotten the experience of playing in multiple position and even scored his first ever La Liga goal. He recently sat down with AS to discuss his future and began by recognizing the differences between Leganes and Athletic. He believes that having other Athletic players at Athletic like Unai Bustinza and Iago Herrerin have helped him away from home.
“It’s clear that there is a lot of differences between one team and another. Being away from home, away from Athletic, I have learned new things. Here there are Argentine players, Brazilian players, some Greeks; but we keep Athletic here with all of us. In this way there are differences, although I have been lucky that Leganes is a very good team and have enjoyed my time here. It has been a great experience.”
Lopez went on to say that playing at Leganes has made him stronger. The newly promoted club has had to fight hard to earn points this year. He was able to score his first ever goal in La Liga at the Camp Nou against Barcelona, though he isn’t sure its his best goal ever because Leganes could not win the match.
“We are a humble club and every game we have gone 100% to get points. When we relax we suffer more and drop points. My goal at the Camp Nou? Yes, it was nice for me but I don’t know if it is my best goal because we couldn’t get the three points. But, it was something unforgettable – my first goal in the Primera and at the Camp Nou.”
In closing, the 21-year-old was compared to Benat but was quick to admit that he doesn’t quite play the same position. He understands that there is a lot of competition in the midfield at Athletic but he hopes to earn a place in the team next year so he can continue learning from players like Benat.
“I’m not a defensive midfielder, but more of an intermediate midfielder between defensive and attack. That is where I feel most comfortable. Could relieve some of Benat’s duty next season? I do not know if I am a relief of Benat. If I am lucky enough to stay there past the summer I will be lucky to continue learning from him. I hope to stay next season. He is a great player and it would be a productive year for me. I know there is a lot of competition – Benat, Iturraspe, San Jose, Mikel Rico and Eraso. Athletic is a big club so there is competition in every position. Athletic will continue to fight for Europe and the Champions League so what I have to do is work hard to earn a place in the team. I am sure that I will get to play in Europe again.”
This season Unai Lopez has featured in 21 games for Leganes, starting 11 times. He has scored 2 goals while completing over 75% of his passes. It is still unknown whether or not he will have a place in next year’s Athletic squad with other loanees like Ager Aketxe and Mikel Vesga fighting for places. However, the young depth in the midfield is a lot to be excited about.