Athletic Club enjoyed their second training session of the preseason on Tuesday, led by new manager Cuco Ziganda. After the practice had ended, club Doctor Josean Lekue took the stage to speak to the media. In the beginning he gave the basics of the medicals that were just conducted, but then he went into detail on some players in the squad that have been dealing with issues or have recently undergone surgery. Luckily, no new issues were discovered.
“The most important thing is that we know we play on 27 July. We have know this for over a month but we still wish we could start later. Right now we have to prepare mind and body. The longer the season the more risk there is for injuries. Health is the basis of all athletes and everyone is in a good state to train. We have conducted the medicals which serve the purpose of making sure each player is healthy and available. The players have returned well and there was nothing found during the medicals.”
Lekue took some time to address the situation of Yeray who is currently undergoing chemotherapy due to a relapse in his battle with cancer. He believes that the defender is doing very well with his treatment and recovery and that he could actually join the team in training in the coming weeks.
“As expected, things are going well with Yeray. He is in the chemotherapy phase of his treatment, but his general condition is very good. These days it is normal for players to train while undergoing chemotherapy. If Yeray continues on this trajectory he will probably be able to join the team in the coming weeks. He is doing well both physically and emotionally. Yeray has family, friends, and this club that will support him well. We expect him to be on leave for three months.”
In closing, Doctor Lekue also touched on Inigo Cordoba and Raul Garcia who underwent surgery over the summer. Both are fine and able to train. Additionally, Benat dealt with pain last season but has been able to train normally.
“Inigo Cordoba has surgery for a sports hernia on 30 May, but he has been training at Lezama these last few months. He has been working hard and is doing well. He’s available to train. Raul Garcia also underwent a small surgery. He has recovered well and is available to train. It is true that Benat had some lower back pain at the end of last season but he is ok and available. We will keep a close eye on him and help with the pain. We treat Aritz Aduriz like every other player, but it is also uncommon for someone his age to be playing so there are age-specific things we must do.”
Athletic will continue training this week before flying to Switzerland on Monday. The Lions will spend eight days in the country as part of the Festival of the Alps where they will play in three friendly matches. It won’t be a very long preseason as Dr. Lekue mentioned, with Athletic playing their first game of the season on 27 July which will be the first leg of their Europa League qualifier.