Iker Muniain’s return from a torn ACL this season has been one of the best stories in all of La Liga. Six months after suffering the injury he was back on the field on Monday night to score a decisive goal against Villarreal to help seal a 3-1 win for the Lions. If the 25-year-old features on Saturday against Deportivo it will mark his 250th league match, beating club legend Joseba Etxeberria as the youngest Athletic player to reach that mark. The Lezama product told reporters that it is an honor to reach such a special goal and that he is looking forward to negotiating a new contract. His current deal expires in 2019.
“I’m going to fight so that my career still has a lot to accomplish. To reach 250 games at this age is something very beautiful, and doing it at a younger age than than Joseba Etxeberria is special. He is someone that I admire. My contract? I am always in contact with the club, although we haven’t actually sat down to discuss it. I’m always open to listen to the club and I’m looking forward to speaking with them and reaching an agreement. I have always said that I am happy here.”
Muniain also took a moment to open up about his recovery and return to the pitch. He revealed that the first few days after the injury he was in a low place, but once he knew the surgery date he was solely focused on recovery. He did all of his recovery with Jurdan Mendigutxia at the Zentrum Sport Facilities and he says that he couldn’t be more thankful for the help and guidance along the way. In the end, the hard work was worth it.
“When I got injured I spent two or three days sunken. Everything changed after I was given a date of operation and then I started my recovery with Jurdan. I am so thankful for everything he has done for me. The work was constant, just like the previous time, and we lived almost as if we were at a boarding school. We were clear about what we had to do for me to return at the final stage of the season and I think it was totally worth it. It leaves me very satisfied.”
With Iker Muniain’s contract set to expire after next season it won’t be long until he and the club formally sit down to negotiate a renewal. Right now the 25-year-old is one of the highest paid players at Athletic and his wages will likely increase, as will his release clause. Muniain has always been very outspoken about his desire to continue playing at his boyhood club, so negotiations should be rather straight-forward and simple. In the meantime, the winger is just happy to be on the field again and is looking forward to playing his 250th La Liga match.