Oscar De Marcos “When Your Goal Is To Stay At The Club For As Long As Possible There Is No Need For A Release Clause”
Oscar De Marcos and Mikel Balenziaga made history on Friday when they followed in the footsteps of teammate Iker Muniain. The two defenders extended their contracts with Athletic Club through 2021 and elected not to include a release clause. On Saturday the pair gave a joint press conference after training and De Marcos said that signing a new deal has extended his dream of playing for Athletic.
“Everyone knew what we wanted. Yesterday was a special day for me and Mikel. We want to be here as long as possible. The negotiations started when Josu was still the President. It was delayed over the past weeks due to the sporting issues, but we didn’t want to wait anymore. When you want to stay everything is much easier. The important thing is to continue at this club, to extend my dream. I was hooked on Athletic at home because my father instilled the club in me. Once you internalize that it grows. People know me. I have extended my dream of playing here for a long time and I always said that I want to win a title more important than the the Super Cup. That takes many years and you have to have some luck.”
When asked about the specific decision to not include a release clause in his contract De Marcos said that he never wanted to leave Athletic so a clause wasn’t needed. He’s learned a lot from the example of other teammates and hopes that he can be a reference for younger players at the club.
“It’s clear that our purpose is to continue here for as long as we can. It was appropriate in my case. I have had good examples in the locker room and over time I have valued the things done by Iraola, Gurpegui, and Aduriz. Now we can be that by making this decision. We feel very connected to the club, Mikel and I. When you have made it clear in your mind to stay at the club for as long as possible there is no need for a release clause.”
Moving forward other Athletic players may not decide to renew without a release clause and De Marcos asked the fans not to treat that as doing something wrong. He reminded that he always had a clause until now and never wanted to leave. His decision was his own and may not be the right choice for others.
“Everyone has their own references so I don’t know if what we did is the best thing for everyone, but I felt it was right for me. If the next player who renews doesn’t do this they shouldn’t be seen as doing something wrong. I have always had a clause until now and I’ve never thought about leaving. This is my home. Everything that surrounds Athletic is very good and makes you feel that it is unique. Whether or not you want to leave is in the mind of each player.”
The 29-year-old was then asked about seeing Eduardo Berizzo dismissed a few weeks ago and De Marcos admitted that it was the hardest day of his Athletic career. He had never been through this issue before and said that the players felt personally responsible for what happened.
“It was the hardest day since I’ve been at Athletic. I had never experienced it before and I have a lot of appreciation for the coaching staff. It hurt us and we felt very responsible for failing to impose their style of play. Competing with Ander Capa? Ander is a great player and important for us. I’m here to make it a difficult decision for the coach.”
In closing, De Marcos discussed Monday night’s game against Alavés, calling it another must-win match. He understands that the team is still in a difficult situation and that it has been weighing on the players, but now they must continue to improve.
“This is another final and we will face it with optimism after winning and responding to the that anxiety we had. We are still in a delicate position. There has been anxiety and it has weighed on us. Athletic has never been relegated and we know that is a possibility. We are not used to being in this situation. At the moment you have to have personality and work to take steps forward.”
Monday night’s Basque Derby will be a difficult game for Athletic. Alavés have been a strong team this season and have yet to be defeated at the Mendizorrotza. If Athletic are able to take all three points they could officially move out of the relegation zone so fans should expect a motivated performance from the Zurigorri who are playing their best football of the season under new manager Gaizka Garitano.