Asier Villalibre made his first team debut for Athletic Club last season but was unable to land a full-time role in the squad this summer. The decision was made for him to leave on loan in order to play regular minutes and gain valuable experience, which led to the 19-year-old joining Real Valladolid before the close of the transfer window. The Lezama product has slowly started to get more minutes and was even able to start in the club’s Copa del Rey match against Cadiz on Thursday. In that game he scored his first goal for the club and spoke afterwards about the importance of building confidence.
“I am very happy for the team as a whole because we have made it to the next round, and for my goal personally. Little by little I am having more minutes. I just had about 80 minutes and I’m happy for the chance to build my confidence. The goal, good or bad, was a plus…but I failed on some clear chances earlier. When a striker comes into a team he needs that first goal. I am happy that is has come already and now I want to see if I can do even better. The import thing is finishing chances. That is the most important thing for a striker and to do that you have to have focus.”
Villalibre says that he is very happy playing for Real Valladolid and that he isn’t thinking about returning to Athletic next season. The important thing is focusing on improving this season. He also says that he thinks the Lions are playing very good football and is happy to see that the team has been able to qualify for the Europa League group stage.
“I am very happy here. The team is strong, the fans are great, and I’m acclimating well. There are good players here and the club has made very good signings. I have no pressure and I am calm. Right now I’m not thinking about returning to Athletic next year, but just improving as much as possible. It is very difficult to take Aduriz’s place… there is only one Aritz Aduriz. I think Athletic is playing very well. They haven’t conceded a goal in the league and qualifying for the Europa League group stage was a big goal. I am happy for the club.”
Asier Villalibre is one of the great hopes at Athletic Club. With Aritz Aduriz closing in on 37 years old, the club is still looking for his eventual replacement and many believe that Villalibre could become that player. Still, at just 19 he has a lot of room left for improvement and growth and fans are hoping to see the Lezama product take another big step forward while on loan at Real Valladolid.