Capa: When Athletic Made An Offer I Immediately Said Yes
Ander Capa is just days away from becoming an Athletic player. He was purchased last summer with a designation to join the team the following summer and he will play hi final match with Eibar this weekend. The 26-year-old has proven himself to be a quality performer in La Liga and will add more quality to an Athletic squad that will be getting an overhaul this summer. On Friday Capa sat down for an exclusive interview with DEIA and admitted that it was hard to say goodbye to Athletic, while also praising manager José Luis Mendilibar for moving him to right-back.
“I’m going to have many emotions because of everything I’ve experienced. I’m leaving a club where I’ve felt important, loved, and supported. I will keep the good memories and I’m looking forward to enjoying my final game just like my farewell, which was very emotional. I will take away many things, especially the relationships and football experience. The arrival of Mendi (coach Mendilibar) was important. He decided to change my position from wing to right-back and the truth is I feel more comfortable there.”
Former Eibar coach Gaizka Garitano is currently managing Bilbao Athletic, but he is also the one who gave Capa his start. The 26-year-old could not say enough good things about his former coach for giving him the chance to join Eibar’s first team and showing faith in him. He says that he hasn’t had any issues managing his focus since the transfer to Athletic was announced in September and that he wanted to play his best this season to leave Eibar in a positive way.
“Gaizka is the one who wanted to bring me into the team when I was with the reserves. He was the one who trusted me when my future hung in the balance. He was the one who wanted me to stay in the team, so I owe him a lot. Mendi has given me a lot as a footballer. He recommended me changing my position and has made me feel important in the team. Thanks to him I will get to join Athletic. I’ve kept working hard every day but I’ve known since September that I was going to Athletic. I had to manage it as normal as possible. I did not start thinking about the future because I knew it was a year down the road. I have been here and I had to help Eibar be as strong as possible. I did not want to leave with a bad face or bad feelings. I wanted to play, to give my best as I have done every year I’ve been here.”
When asked about any treatment received from Athletic fans this season, Capa says that he has only gotten well wishes for the future. He grew up an Athletic fan and even attended Lezama for a short time, so he is excited to make the switch to the San Mamés. The 26-year-old said that when the Lions called with interest in him he didn’t want to hear any offers from other clubs. His response was an immediate yes.
“The only thing I’ve heard from fans so far is them wishing me well at Athletic and asking me to do my best. I do not know when the presentation will be held, but I’ve been an Athletic supporter since I was little and I have always felt those colors. I think after this weekend I will feel like an Athletic player. The signing was a matter between the two clubs and my representatives. I had nothing to do with it. They only informed me that Athletic was interested and I said that I did not want to hear offers from other clubs because I wanted to join Athletic. When they made the offer my response was an immediate yes.”
In closing, Capa discussed the player that he wants to be at Athletic Club. He says that he wants to play at the same level he has for Eibar and to improve every day. He knows that there will be competition in the squad for his position, but he comes ready to fight for a starting role. Capa understands that Athletic will demand a lot from him, but he is ready for the pressure that he will face because Mendilibar has pushed him so much already with Eibar.
I hope to be the same Ander Capa as these years in Eibar. I want to improve in each training, give my absolute best every minute, and feel loved as I have at Ipurua. I’m coming into the team with the intention of winning the starting role and I want to give my best. There will be a new coach and it’s up to me to prove myself and then the coach will decide who plays. I think my best position is right-back, but I am versatile. I like to play with speed and energy, but I’ll admit that I need to improve in the air. Athletic will demand a lot and there will be more pressure. Mendi does not let you rest for a single second, so I imagine it will be the same. I’m not thinking too much about the pressure.”
Ander Capa spent three years at Lezama, but eventually left in 2005 to join Eibar. It was Gaizka Garitano who gave him a chance in the first team and, after making his debut, he was there to stay. He helped lead the club from the Segunda B all the way to the Primera and leaves Eibar having made over 200 appearances. Capa has proven to be one of the best players in his position in La Liga and now he is ready to represent the club that he has supported since he was a child. Playing for Athletic will bring more expectation and pressure, but Capa says he is ready for the challenge.