Athletic Club Officially Present New Signing Cristian Ganea
Last summer Athletic Club shocked fans when they announced that they had purchased Romanian left-back Cristian Ganea from Viitorul Constanta for an undisclosed fee. Most fans had never heard of the defender and he was allowed to stay with Viitorul through the season with a designation to join Athletic the following summer. Some immediately questioned how he was eligible to meet the club’s Basque-only policy, but he had moved with his family to the Basque Country when he was young and spent time at local academies. Ganea even represented the Basque U18 team at one point. On Monday Cristian Ganea was officially presented as the newest Athletic Club player.
Ganea has signed a contract with Athletic through 2021, with an option to renew for an additional season. His deal also contains a €40 million release clause. The 26-year-old is a proven international who has represented the Romanian National Team and will come to Athletic with the goal of battling Mikel Balenziaga for the starting left-back role. This year he has also showed the ability to play in a more attacking role, taking advantage of his passing and dribbling abilities. He had the following to say at his official presentation.
“I moved to Basauri with my parents when I was eleven years old and lived there for nine years. I’ve always been told that I’m more from Spain and when I went back to Romania I didn’t really know how to talk to my teammates. I grew up dreaming of playing for Athletic and now my dream has been fulfilled. I played with the Basque U18 team, with Capa and Sabin Merino so I am already familiar with some players. I lost contact with them, but we have been teammates. The Spanish league has more rhythm and is stronger so I know I need to improve as a defender. I must be at my top level and learn from my teammates so that I can keep improving. My life is going to change a lot from moving from Romania to Spain. It has been a very good change that I think will help me grow as a footballer. I want to show the club that they have made the right signing. I hope to contribute my best and learn with great enthusiasm in every training session. I have played as a left-back the last three years but I can also play as an attacker with my speed. I try to play a technical game and I can shoot as well. I am very grateful that the club has trusted me and I am excited to be an Athletic player.”
Cristian Ganea is the second Athletic signing to be presented over the last few days with Ander Capa getting his time in front of the media on Friday. The club is also expected to announce the addition of Dani Garcia sometime in the near future with the former Eibar captain making the switch to the San Mamés after choosing not to renew his contract. Athletic Club understand the need to strengthen the squad after a disappointing season and are also showing interest in Mikel Merino, Ander Herrera, Yuri Berchiche, and Kike Barja. It is going to be a bust summer around Athletic and that should give fans something to be excited about.