Unai Simón “Ever Since I Arrived At Lezama I Have Dreamed Of Playing At The San Mamés”
Unai Simón has been thrust into the spotlight as Athletic Club’s starting goalkeeper and has handled everything with impressive maturity. The Lions will face off with Real Madrid after the international break and the 21-year-old is preparing for it just like any other game. On Friday he spoke to the media and admitted that he is living his dream of playing at the San Mamés and wants to continue building his confidence.
“At first you are surprised by the news. I had only come back five days prior and then I was making my debut. Ever since I arrived at Lezama I’ve dreamed of playing at the San Mamés. Being in that tunnel and seeing all the people really hits you. I’m happy to have realized that dream and now I will try to do everything to continue doing well. Besides making my debut, if things go well I will keep gaining confidence and strength to face the coming games. Being called up to the U21 team is the icing on the cake.”
With everything going on it is easy to get distracted, but Simón says that he is only ever thinking about the next training session and the next match. He’s already played two games in the Primera and is aware that he still has a lot to improve on as he continues his development.
“I have to concentrate. I’m always thinking about the next training session and the next game, in this case Real Madrid. I’m aware that up until a couple of days ago I was with Elche. You have to keep your feet on the ground. I’ve played two games in the first division now and I haven’t accomplished anything yet. I still have a long way to go and much to improve. On the field I am quiet, it’s just my personality, but the affection of the fans helps me play my best.”
In closing, Simón was asked about his relationship with Alex Remiro who was expected to be the starter but has not been allowed to play due to contract disputes. The goalkeeper said that they train together every day and that these decisions are made by the coach.
“These are personal issues. He [Alex Remiro] is my teammate and I enjoy training with him every day. His situation doesn’t change anything. As Raúl García said yesterday, the team always comes above the individual. Who plays is the coach’s decision. We have to train hard every day and keep working because we have three goalkeepers here. Playing or not I face it the same way I have since I was young; working hard and trying to enjoy the game. I’m just as motivated one way or another.”
Facing Real Madrid will certainly be a big test for Simón who has looked great through two matches thus far. The Athletic defense will have to be at their best to protect the goal and will be getting an added boost with the return of Iñigo Martinez who has missed over one month of action with a calf injury. Aritz Aduriz should also be back in the team after nursing a hamstring injury which means that Berizzo will be able to start a very strong lineup at the San Mamés.