Dani Garcia “I Have Always Dreamed About Playing For Athletic”
Dani García has quickly become one of the most important players for Athletic since joining the club over the summer. On Friday he will face off with Real Sociedad in the Basque Derby and it is hard to forget that the midfielder spent time at La Real’s youth academy before becoming a star with Eibar. He recently spoke with Radio Marca Bilbao and admitted that he doesn’t have any ill will towards his former club, but made it clear that he is an Athletic supporter now.
“I don’t have any thorns in my side because of Real Sociedad. I can only thank them for the training they gave me. I wasn’t a fan of one or the other as a child because my father was a Real Madrid fan and I wanted to support his team. I think that every player supports the team that he is with. I loved Eibar, but now I am Athletic. I have always dreamed about playing for Athletic and I’m very happy to be here.”
García admitted that coming to Athletic also brought fear. He wasn’t sure if he was going to get to play a regular role in the team, but so far he’s happy with how well he’s played. There is still room for improvement, but he recognizes that his defensive contribution in midfield is something that manager Eduardo Berizzo is pleased with.
“You always come to a new team with fear of not having minutes because there is already a great squad. You never know. So far I am very happy with my level of play, although I can improve, especially on the ball, and that is what I am working on. I think I have been solid defensively in the middle of the field. I have the ability to recover balls and the coach values that.”
Making the move from Eibar to Athletic was a big step for García. The 28-year-old stated that there wasn’t a lot of pressure at Ipurua but that there is much more at Athletic because the club always wants to be competing in Europe. He believes that pressure will make him a better player.
“I knew that when I came to Athletic it was going to be a place different than Eibar. At Eibar there isn’t as much pressure and the fans are with you whether you win or lose. The objective is to stay in the league. Here there is another kind of pressure, with the goal of playing in Europe. I know that it will make me a better player and person.”
In closing, García was asked about teammate Peru Nolaskoain who recently signed a contract renewal through 2024. The midfielder praised the 19-year-old’s maturity and said that Athletic’s goal is to always have the best Basque players in the squad.
“We have good Basque players at Athletic. It’s normal for the club to try to have the best ones here because that is our marker. Peru has his feet on the ground. He’s surprised me a lot since he arrived and I think he can be a Captain in the future. The young players have a lot of quality and have their heads on well.”
Friday’s match at the San Mamés will be extra special for several Lions because Dani García isn’t the only one who previously spent time with Real Sociedad. Iñigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche, and Unai López all wore the blue and white at one point and will be looking to take all three points off of their former club in what promises to be an emotional and intense Basque Derby.