Dani Vivian Has Become One Of The Leaders Of Bilbao Athletic And Is Starting To Make His Case For The First Team
Bilbao Athletic began the season with several questions surrounding the squad. Leading goalscorer Gorka Guruzeta had been promoted to the first team, as were midfield starlet Peru Nolaskoain and starting goalkeeper Unai Simón. Andoni López was also promoted but was sent on loan to Almeria in the Segunda. At the same time, Captain Iker Undabarrena left the club along with fellow midfielder Tarsi Aguado. With so many holes to fill, the defense was somewhat overlooked.
Starting center-backs Oscar Gil and Unai Bilbao both made their exits which left Gaizka Garitano with two massive holes to fill in defense. He tried a few different pairings at the start of the season but one thing was clear, Dani Vivian was the unquestioned leader of the back line. Oier Luengo and Javi Murua were both tested alongside Vivian, who was never taken out of the starting lineup, before Gorka Pérez proved to be the ideal partnership. It’s no surprise that Vivian has become an integral part of the team and his path to this point has been paved with hard work and determination.
Vivian joined Athletic back in 2016 from Santutxu when he was signed for feeder club CD Basconia. At the time he was viewed as a promising young player and would go on to feature in 30 games before being promoted to Bilbao Athletic the following season. Oscar Gil and Unai Bilbao were entrenched as the starters which saw the then 18-year-old split time between Basconia and Bilbao Athletic, but he also dealt with a right ankle injury.
Last year Vivian played 14 games with Basconia, but only featured 4 times for Bilbao Athletic. He still impressed enough to be called up to the Spain U19 team and was focused on proving himself capable of being a key player for Garitano moving into the new campaign. At the end of last season Athletic played a friendly match against Santutxu and Vivian was called up for the game against his former club. He made his unofficial debut with the senior squad and it was at that point that it became clear that he was ready to become a leader at Bilbao Athletic and start fighting for a future place at the San Mamés.
The last 12 months have seen Dani Vivian improve at a more rapid pace than anyone else at Lezama during that time. He’s developed a great aerial game, has become quite comfortable on the ball, and has shown a knack for perfectly timed tackles. Whether dealing with set pieces or guarding a forward, the 19-year-old has been one of the most outstanding center-backs in all of the Segunda B so far this season. Just as important as the physical abilities, he’s also improved mentally as well. He’s reading the game at a high level and has taken on the role of the vocal leader in Garitano’s team.
Vivian has taken huge strides forward in his development over the past year. He’s gone from being just another talented young player to someone who is making a serious case for the first team in the near future. The dream for everyone at Lezama is to one day play at the San Mamés and Dani Vivian is showing that he could be one of the next players to make that dream a reality.