Athletic Club shocked fans on Friday when it was revealed that every single player had shaved their heads to show support for Yeray who is undergoing chemotherapy after a relapse in his battle with testicular cancer. Oscar De Marcos spoke to the media not soon after and said that the team came up with the idea together and wanted to surprise their friend and let him know that they are with him.
“We wanted to surprise our partner and friend and make him feel as comfortable as possible here. This is not only for Yeray, but for all of those people who suffer from this disease. We want them to see that they have support here. It is something that he had planned to do, the entire team came up with the idea when we saw that Yeray was cutting his hair. We wanted him to feel proud and we waited so it would be a surprise. We have always said that this is more than a team. We are here for each other for everything. Yeray is a very strong person. Sometimes it is difficult to accurately express how you feel in words. We know that everything will be fine, but it is a long journey and we are by his side to accompany him along the way.”
De Marcos then turned his attention to training under new manager Cuco Ziganda. He says that there are differences in style of play, but that Ziganda does a great job of conveying his ideas to the players. The ultimate goal, he says, is to qualify for Europe again this season.
“When there is a new coach everyone wants to fight to a starting role. The entire squad is open. I see Ziganda as a very excited and enthusiastic coach. He has very clear ideas and he conveys them well to the players. That is important. There are differences with him and we have to adapt to his style of play. The short term for us is clear, we want to advance in the Europa League. Our ultimate goal is to qualify for Europe again. The years pass quickly because this is my ninth season with Athletic. I want to help the team as much as I possibly can.”
In closing, De Marcos praised the Bilbao Athletic players that are training with the first team. He says that every year it is more surprising just how ready the young players are to train with the senior squad. He believes that they will make the team stronger and has blind faith in everyone promoted from Bilbao Athletic.
“The players from Bilbao Athletic are doing well and acclimating to the first team. They are all strong and that gives us comfort as a team. Every year, every player that comes from Bilbao Athletic surprises us more and more with how ready they are to be here. Every player that comes up makes the team stronger and be have blind trust in them.”
Athletic Club will fly to Switzerland on Monday to take part in the Festival of the Alps over an eight day period. In total they will compete in three friendly matches before returning home on 18 July. The season will begin not long afterwards as the Lions will play the first leg of their Europa League qualifier on 27 July.