Mikel Rico’s role at Athletic has been constantly changing since he returned to the club back in 2013. In his first season he was an integral part of Ernesto Valverde’s side, but his minutes has steadily decreased ever since. Regardless, the 32-year-old has remained a vital part of the locker room and his veteran leadership cannot be overstated. Now, with only one year remaining on his contract, the midfielder is in line to receive an extension.
Huesca President, Agustin Lasaosa, who is a personal friend of Rico, recently stated in an interview that the midfielder has been offered a renewal by Athletic Club. Recent reports were linking Rico with a return to Huesca this summer and Lasaosa was asked about that possibility while speaking to Sport Huesca. “Rico is a great player. He has a year left on his contract and been given the proposal to renew with Athletic Club. I keep in contact with him because he is my friend.”
Those unfamiliar with Athletic may find Rico’s possible renewing a bit surprising. With the emergence of Mikel Vesga and possible signing of Mikel Merino it looks like there will be no place for Rico in the squad. However, those close to Athletic know and understand just how important the 32-year-old has been in the locker room. His veteran leadership has played a big role behind the scenes and the club would like for him to remain in Bilbao.
For now, the decision is up to Mikel Rico. If he decides to renew his contract he will do so knowing that his minutes will be limited. He recently stated that returning to Athletic was the best thing to ever happen to him in his footballing career, so staying at his boyhood club could be the easy decision. If the midfielder does want to leave in search in regular minutes, Huesca would be willing to welcome him with open arms. Rico has yet to give Athletic Club an answer, but all signs point to the two sides coming to an agreement soon.