After a week of waiting for league approval, Asier Villalibre officially joined Numancia on loan for the remainder of the season. The move was allowed to happen due to a string of serious injuries at the Segunda club and Villalibre comes to help the club in their last month of the season. On Wednesday, the 19-year-old was presented by the club and gave a press conference saying that this a wonderful chance for him to test himself against stronger competition.
“This is a great opportunity to move up the ranks, even if it’s only for a month. It is going to be a nice and challenging month and I’m going to try to take full advantage. I want to help Numancia continue to play in this league because that is where they deserve to be. When they called me I did not expect it, but talking to my family and the club is seemed like a good challenge for me.”
Villalibre said that he feels great and is ready to play right away if the manager decides that he is needed. He also thanked the club for bringing him in and praised Numancia’s history with Athletic as something that makes him feel very comfortable.
“Physically I am very well because I come from playing with Bilbao Athletic. I am ready to play right away but that is a decision for the manager. I want to thank everyone at the club for having me and all my new teammates who have been very kind in welcoming me here. I am very excited to play at Los Pajariots because Numancia is a club with a lot of history and many players from Athletic have come through here. There are players with ties to Athletic here now and that helps make me more comfortable.”
When asked to define his way of playing, Villalibre said that he doesn’t like to describe himself. The young striker is a very humble player but did say that he knows he is strong and can use space well. Despite making his first team debut earlier this year, he says that he still doesn’t consider himself a Primera player yet.
“I don’t like to try to define my way of playing. I know that I am physically strong and like to run into space. I think I am best as a striker. I don’t know where or when I will play because that is decided by the manager. I made my Athletic debuted earlier this season but I have never considered myself a Primera Division player. It was a big plus for me and I gained valuable experience, but I have always considered myself a Segunda B player because I was just filling in. Being in the Segunda is a step up for me.
Following Villalibre’s press conference, Numancia Sporting Director Cesar Palacios thanked Athletic Club for being there in their time of need. He said that Villalibre will play a big role in the final games of the season and highlighted his hunger to prove himself as something that will help him to be successful.
“I want to thank our friendship with Athletic, who has always been there to help us. We believe that this is a very competitive league with a lot of equality, so we could not risk being without players in a key role. When we needed a reinforcement we thought of Villalibre right away and contacted Athletic. For him this is a challenge to be able to prove that he can play in a higher category. He is a great player, very young, and he is hungry to prove himself. He has a bright road ahead and he will be important for us.”
Asier Villalibre will join several others player at Numancia who have ties to Athletic Club. Kike Sola is currently on loan at the club, while Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta, Inigo Perez, Unai Medina, and Aitor Fernandez all grew up at Lezama. This will give the 19-year-old a great chance to prove himself against stronger competition and make his case for joining the first team next season.