Markel Etxeberria is a name that most Athletic fans are well aware of. The young right-back trained with the first team way back under Marcelo Bielsa and was an integral part of Cuco Ziganda’s Bilbao Athletic team that won promotion to the Primera. However, the 22-year-old has not been able to carve out a path to the senior squad and was sent on loan to Real Valladolid last season. Unfortunately, he only competed in five matches and the Lions decided that he needed to spend another year away to gain valuable experience.
A few days ago Athletic Club announced that Etxeberria had been sent on loan to Numancia, where he will play in his third consecutive season in Spain’s Segunda division. On Monday, the right-back was officially presented as the newest Numancia player. During his press conference with his temporary club, Etxeberria made it clear that he is hungry to play football.
“I come here after a year of playing very little, and I have desire and hope. I am young, I am very hungry, and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got from the very first day. It is my job to convince the coach and that is what I will set out to do.”
Athletic Club players have done very well at Numancia in recent years. Lezama standouts like Inigo Ruiz De Galarreta, Aitor Fernandez, and Inigo Perez all featured as starters last season as did Unai Medina who will be Etxeberria’s direct competition for the starting right-back position. Additionally, Asier Villalibre joined the club on loan for the last month of last season and was able to start in every game except for one. If that wasn’t enough of a positive outlook, Etxeberria’s former Bilbao Athletic teammate Guillermo left Elche this summer and has signed with Numancia, which will give him another familiar face. It will be up to Etxeberria to earn his place in the team, but he will certainly feel at home with several other Lezama graduates sharing the locker room.