Jonas Ramalho was once a highly-touted right-back coming out of Lezama and it didn’t take long for him to get chances in the first team. However, coaching changes, injuries, and added competition saw him lose his place. Last year he left Athletic Club to join Girona and went on to help the team earn promotion to the Primera for the first time in history. Speaking with Carlos Zaballa of Mundo Deportivo, the 24-year-old revealed that joining Girona was absolutely the best decision he could have made.
“I have two years left on my contract with Girona. I finished at Athletic last year and I came to Girona for three seasons. To this day I am very happy that I made the decision to come here. I had other options, but among the people who support me, my agent and those close to me, we decided that coming to Girona was the best option. It has been a successful because I played minutes and have been at a good level. I have found myself well and forgotten the previous years which were difficult. Above all we have been promoted which is what matters most.”
When asked about the fact that he will play against Athletic next season, the defender admitted that it will be a very special match and one that he is looking forward to. Additionally, he is excited that Gorka Iraizoz has signed for Girona.
“For me it’s going to be a very special match. Bilbao is my home and I always wanted to play there. I was very sad to have to leave the club. The game at the San Mames will be a very special match and one that I am really looking forward to. But now I belong to Girona and I will give everything for Girona. Also, I am very happy that Gorka signed for Girona. I know him from Bilbao and I heard that he signed here I was very happy. He was a great support for me when I got to the first team and now he comes to Girona to be a support again. For the club it is a great signing because he is a veteran player who will contribute a lot to this team.”
Ramalho believes that Athletic has a strong team for the upcoming season, regardless of whether or not they sign a new player. Any potential signing that is made will only make the squad even stronger.
“They [Athletic] have a great team this year. I don’t know if they will make any signings, but they have a team that is good enough to compete in three tournaments. They have played at a high level. If a new addition does arrive it will be to continue improving the team. Already they have a squad that can compete at a high level.”
New Athletic manager Cuco Ziganda coached Jonas Ramalho at Bilbao Athletic and the two know each other very well. Ramalho says that Ziganda absolutely deserved to take over the first team and that his personality and the fact that he can relate to the players will help him be successful in his new role.
“I know Cuco from playing at Bilbao Athletic for several years. I am very glad that he has been given the opportunity to lead the first team because I think he is a great coach. He treated me very well and helped me grow. He will do well because he already knows most of the players because he coached them at Bilbao Athletic. He also has a good relationship with the older players. This is important for things to go well and I think Cuco will do a great job. Aside from being a good coach, he is a good person. He has contract with the players: he talks to them, asks them how they are, he cares about them. Besides football, he worries about the mood of his players. He has a good relationship with everyone and that is a positive thing about his personality. He managed to get the reserve team promoted by playing nice, competitive football. I think his style will do well in the first team.”
In closing, Ramalho admitted that he wished to have had more of a chance to make his case for the first team under Ernesto Valverde. He said that the former Athletic manager chose to but his faith in other players, but Ramalho believes that he could have been successful in the first team.
“I was only in the preseason and neither time I was able to show my best. I wish that Ernesto [Valverde] had trusted me a little more and maybe given me more of an opportunity to show that I could have a place in the first team. Those are the decisions of the coaches and you have to respect them. He trusted more in other players and there is nothing that I can do about that. I looked for a way out and I have been fortunate. Everything has gone well for me and I will be able to enjoy playing in the Primera again.”
Jonas Ramalho will finally be a Primera player again when the new season kicks off and he is expected to continue in his starting role for Girona. Last season he became one of the leaders of the team and will play a vital role next year. Some have begun to wonder if he will eventually be linked with a move back to Athletic, but for now he is only focused on helping his current club stay in La Liga.