Yuri Berchiche “My Heart Brought Me Back To Athletic Club”
Yuri Berchiche was officially presented as an Athletic Club player on Friday in a joint press conference with President Josu Urrutia. The left-back was quick to address the issue of his past which saw him leave Lezama at 15 years old due to anger issues. He says that he has matured a lot since he was a kid and that he isn’t the same person anymore. Most importantly, he revealed that the reason he decided to return to Athletic was because his heart was calling him home.
“I want to thank President Urrutia and the board. They made a great effort to bring me here and I have come with the dream of contributing to the team. We are a unique team and have chosen a path that is more difficult. I am delighted to be at this club with its philosophy and history. I’m excited to start and meet my teammates. When I left I was 15 years old, but now I am 28. Life has its stages and it changed my way of life. I am a different person. Before I was very compulsive and that wasn’t good. I learned to control that. The main factor in this decision was my desire to return. I am a person who relies on my heart and my heart asked me to come back and I couldn’t rejected it. I’m super happy and very thankful.”
Berchiche went on to say that he is excited to work under new manager Eduardo Berizzo and that his main goal is to help the team be successful. He understands that there will be plenty of competition in the team and is ready to face it. Playing at PSG has given Berchiche a desire for competition that he hopes to bring with him to Athletic.
“Many players have told me about Berizzo and I really wanted to work for him. His game looks very good and I love his ideas. We’ll see where we are at the end of the season, but there is a basis to have a great year. I will try to give everything on the field with great effort and dedication. I come with the goal of helping the team with my experience. I see the competition in the team as motivation. I am coming from PSG where the goal was to play at the highest level in the Champions League against the best club and that is what we want to achieve here at Athletic.”
In closing, Berchiche was asked about his decision to come to Athletic after playing for so long at Real Sociedad. He said that he had to make the best decision while also admitting that he grew a lot during his year with PSG. The left-back was able to develop his defensive game in France and is excited to play an important role at the San Mamés.
“I had to make the best decision possible for me and my family. I want to compete at this level. I saw returning to Athletic as something that would be easy. Players like Mikel San José and Iker Muniain are in the locker room and we’ve known each other since we were small and playing for Euskadi. I already have good friends here. When I arrived at PSG I was scared. I saw these players on television and they were all superstars. Then you see them every day and you realize they are just like you. I’ve learned a lot from there. I played a more defensive game when I was used to doing more on offense, so now I think I can do both well.”
Yuri Berchiche has become Athletic’s second most expensive signing in club history and comes with plenty of expectations. The 28-year-old has already proven that he can form a strong pair with Iñigo Martinez and the duo will be hoping to replicate that success at the San Mamés. Berchiche will join his teammates on Monday when preseason training officially begins.