Athletic Club will host Leganes on Sunday in the last game of the season at the San Mames. If the Lions can earn a victory, coupled with a Real Madrid defeat, they will officially qualify for the Europa League. Leganes will be without two players, Unai Lopez and Iago Herrerin, who are both ineligible to play due to being loanees from Athletic. Lopez recently spoke with Mundo Deportivo and admitted that he hopes for the best for his parent club.
“I knew from the beginning of the season that I wouldn’t be able to play against Athletic, so it doesn’t bother me. I expect an Athletic that is playing to the death. They are playing for Europe and we know that it is very difficult to score against them at the San Mames. We will try to make things difficult, but I hope for the best for Athletic. They may have to win against Atletico next week too. They are capable of great things and have a team that can beat anyone. I’m sure they will achieve their goal of qualifying for Europe.”
The 21-year-old went on to say that his loan has helped him grow as a player, but that he wished he could have played more regularly. He wants to prove this summer that he deserves a place at Athletic and is excited to be back in Bilbao when the current season comes to a close.
“Personally, I have experienced new things this year and it has helped me grow as a footballer. It is true that I have missed the continuity that a player needs to feel at ease. My goal is to have the best preseason possible and try to make it a hard decision in Bilbao. I want to prove that I deserve a place in the team. What do I think about Ziganda possible replacing Valverde? I have trained under both and they both know me well. Both are great coaches.”
Lopez has had a good year despite not being a regular starter. He has featured in 23 league games, making 12 starts in the process. The Lezama standout has scored two goals this year and has also seen the defensive side of his game improve. His place in the first team next season definitely isn’t a guarantee at this point, but he is committed to working hard and fighting for his place next season.