Mikel Balenziaga Is Hoping To Earn A Contract Extension At Athletic Club
Mikel Balenziaga has enjoyed being the starting left-back at Athletic since returning to the club back in 2013. However, the signing of Yuri Berchiche has seen the 30-year-old play far less minutes. Despite the competition Balenziaga told Radio Marca Bilbao that he never considered leaving the club over the summer and is looking forward to contract negotiations with his current deal set to expire in June.
“I’ve been lucky enough these years to be able to participate a lot in the team. When a situation like this happens you have to give your best to have minutes and try to convince the coach that you should be in the lineup. I haven’t talked to the club yet about my contract, but that moment will come and it will be decided. The time will come for that conversation and we will do what we have to do. I would like to stay at Athletic because that’s the best option a player can have.”
The defender went on to explain that he was aware of all the false stories in the media linking him with moves to Real Valladolid and other possible destinations. Behind the scenes both he and the club had no intentions of parting ways and Balenziaga says that he is very happy to be playing for Athletic.
“It’s true that there was a lot of things being published about my future. From the first moment of the preseason my intention was to stay. That was the club’s intention as well. You read these kind of stories knowing that they aren’t true and you don’t like it, especially when my intention was to stay at the club. My two years at Real Valladolid were wonderful, but my goal was to stay at Athletic. I am extremely happy to be at Athletic. It’s a joy.”
Looking at this season Balenziaga is confident that the team will start climbing the La Liga table very soon. He says that Athletic have played much better than the standings and results suggest and that he is very happy with the coaching staff and the attitude of the players.
“Both the team and myself are very happy with the work that is being done. The coaches and the players are working hard. I’m sure that we will move higher up the table because the sensations that we have are not what the standings show. We believe in the work we’re doing. We believe in what we do every day and in what we try to do in each game. We have shown that this team can be much higher in the table and I’m sure that in a short time we will prove it.”
With Yuri Berchiche suspended for three games following an altercation with the referee, Mikel Balenziaga will now return to the starting lineup where he will be expected to play at a high level. The 30-year-old is hoping to earn a contract extension this season and will need to take advantage of their opportunity. Balenziaga has played well in Berizzo systems and could become an even more important player in the team moving forward.