Alex Remiro “I Don’t Want To Be Anyone’s Backup”
Alex Remiro has proven that he can play at a high level. While on loan with Huesca this season he has established himself as the best goalkeeper in the Segunda and helped lead the team to their first promotion to the Primera in club history. When he returns to Athletic this summer he will be entering the last year of contract which puts him and the club in a difficult situation. The 22-year-old recently gave an exclusive interview with El Correo where he admitted that not playing last year was tough, but that he made the right decision to accept Huesca’s offer.
“I came from a bad time in my career, but it served as a good learning experience. Here I have had the confidence of the coach. Huesca already wanted me last year and this year I decided that the most important thing was to play, wherever I went. I made the right decision and I have played regularly and we have earned promotion as a team. Nobody expected us to compete for promotion but everyone played their best and that is why we achieved it.”
When asked to describe himself, Remiro said that he is always very calm and quiet, which can disrupt opponents. Like most goalkeepers he is also very superstitious and tries to practice the same routines before games for good luck. He demands a lot of himself and considers himself a perfectionist, which leads him to study game film to help improve.
“I’m a quiet goalkeeper. Opponents have told me that it makes them nervous that I’m so calm. I guess that is a virtue and gives me an added bonus as a goalkeeper. We all have our own rituals and superstitions. I try not to step on any lines of the field before the game starts and I always walk onto the pitch with my right foot first. I also pray before every game because it helps me concentrate. I’m very demanding of myself. Even when people congratulate me on a good game all I can think about is the moments where I know I could’ve done better. I like watching game film because it helps me correct my mistakes.”
A few weeks ago Huesca defeated Lugo 2-0 to guarantee their promotion, but it wasn’t the best night for Remiro who got hit in the head with a shot and had to be taken to the hospital. He admitted that he couldn’t remember anything about the game but was happy to be able to come back to the stadium to celebrate with his teammates, although he should have stayed at the hospital.
“I honestly don’t remember anything that happened. I was worried because who knows if I could’ve made the injury worse. I only know that I touched the ball a few times with my feet because I saw it on the game film later on. In the ambulance I didn’t remember how the game was going so I asked the paramedic and he said it was 1-0. A few seconds later I asked again because I had already forgotten. I really couldn’t remember anything. I came back in the 87th minute to enjoy the celebrate with my teammates. I shouldn’t have left the hospital but my doctor let me under the condition that the physio accompanied me.”
Remiro was asked about his plans for next season and was quick to say that he would love to earn a place in the Athletic first team. He’s been in Bilbao for a decade now and has always dreamed of competing at the San Mamés. He believes that he has shown that he can play at the highest level over the past few years, but knows that he has to be realistic about his chances with Kepa Arrizabalaga currently the starter for Athletic.
“I would love to be in the first team. I’ve been at Athletic for ten years and I’m looking forward to the feeling of being a player in the first team. I’ve been in the Segunda for three years now and I’ve shown that I can play in the Primera and compete with any goalkeeper. If I compete with Kepa this season, I will learn from him. If I leave on loan, I will leave having learned a lot. With the season I’ve had I feel capable of earning a place and competing with Kepa, but you have to be realistic. Athletic have Kepa as their goalkeeper for a long time. I want to find my place in the team, but if I can’t I am not afraid of leaving on loan and proving myself.”
The 22-year-old also admitted that he would like to stay at Huesca since they have earned promotion and he knows that he would get the chance to play regular minutes. That decision will be up to Athletic, but he would look at another loan move favorably. When asked what it would take to renew his contract, Remiro said that he just wants to see an offer that convinces him that he can have a place in the team, but he was also clear about the fact that he doesn’t want to be a backup.
“Of course I would like to stay at Huesca now that we are in the Primera. The fans here love me very much, but I would first have to renew with Athletic. My goal is to finish my contract year and show that I have the level to play for Athletic. They have already renewed Kepa and Iago [Herrerín] so I’ve been in the background a little bit. I’m waiting to see their offer and I will value the best option. What will it take for me to renew? If they offer me a proposal that convinces me, simple as that. Leaving with an option to buy me back? Whatever is best for the club and for me is fine. I will accept what they tell me, but I must also look after my own interests. I don’t want to be a backup player or a substitute. After this year in Huesca, having been a starter and earning promotion to the Primera when no one was betting on us, playing every week shows you the importance of regular minutes. I don’t want to be a backup, not to Kepa or to anyone else.”
Athletic Club are in a very difficult situation with their goalkeepers. Kepa Arrizabalaga is definitely the starter for now and for years to come, but the backup role is certainly a question mark. Iago Herrerín and now Alex Remiro have both been outspoken about the fact that they don’t want to be backups next season. It doesn’t look like the Basque giants are going to be able to keep everyone happy so new manager Eduardo Berizzo is going to have some difficult decisions to make.