Former Bilbao Athletic Defender Unai Bilbao Joins Mexico’s Atlético San Luis
Throughout history Athletic Club’s emphasis on Lezama has created a special bond between fans and the young stars coming up through the academy. Naturally, not everyone will be able to reach the first team so every summer it is sad to see some players who have to leave in order to continue their careers. This was the case for Unai Bilbao who, after playing a major role for Bilbao Athletic over the past four seasons, was allowed to leave for free at the end of the season. On Tuesday he signed a two-year contract with Atlético San Luis from Mexico’s second division. In an interview he said that he understood that not everyone can reach Athletic’s first team and that he is excited to experience Mexican football.
“In the end, not everyone can go up to the first team. Many circumstances have to happen for you to get the opportunity and that did not happen in my case. It is a very difficult step to take and we all have the dream of making it. Coming to Mexico is an option that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Several factors influenced this decision and I thought this was a good project. I was very interested and if I didn’t take the opportunity I knew I would regret it. I’m attracted to Mexican football and this club and if I don’t do it now, when I’m 24 and have nothing tying me down, when will I do it? I’ve talked to some players from the club and the references regarding the team and the quality of life were good.”
Some believed that Unai Bilbao was going to get the chance to train with the first team this summer, but there was just too much competition standing in his way. At 24 years old, his time with the reserve team had come to an end and Athletic made the decision to let him decide his own future. He will now help Atlético San Luis pursue promotion to the Mexican first division and, if he plays at a high level, may have the opportunity to return to Athletic in the future.