Ibai Gómez Gives Emotional Farewell Press Conference At Alavés
Ibai Gómez has returned to Athletic Club. The 29-year-old was signed from Alavés on Wednesday with the announcement coming earlier today. He will be presented at the San Mamés on Friday, but first he took the time to hold what was an emotional farewell press conference at Alavés. While fighting back tears he explained how difficult it was to make the decision to leave.
“Today is a very important day of me. I have to say goodbye to the club that has made me once again enjoy the profession of my dreams. I love football and give myself, my body, and my soul to the shield that I defend. If you are here, it’s because you know that today my path takes a new direction. It was very difficult to make this decision. I was born a football man and I will be for my whole life. That’s why, when this whole situation arose, the simple idea of saying goodbye to the Glorioso already made me cry.”
The player from Santutxu went on to thank everyone at the club from photographers and reports to the medical staff and every individual coach. He also highlighted Sporting Director Sergio Fernández for convincing him to join Alavés, as well as manager Mauricio Pellegrino who helped him rediscover his best football.
“Thanks to Sergio Fernández for calling me at 10:30 at night in that summer of 2016 to convince me that my place was here. You were absolutely right. Thanks also to you Alfonso and your entire Board of Directors for making it possible. Thanks to Mauricio Pellegrino and all his coaching staff for trusting me in that first season of great achievements, in which the fans made me cry with emotion in the Cup semifinal against Celta, and even more in the final despite not lifting the title.”
Gómez would go on to thank the fans, who he says are the most important part of the club, as well as all of his teammates at Alavés. Through tears he said that the friendships that he made will always be more valuable and important than the goals he scored for the club.
“From here I would repeat once again that you, the fans, are the only essential part of this team. Without you, without your love, we are nothing. So for the part that touches me, thank you very much with all my heart. Of course, thank you to all my teammates, to each of you who have passed through this club throughout these two and a half years. I have forged friendships here that I know will last forever and that there are no goals that surpass that, not even the hat trick against Girona.”
In hopes of dispelling any rumors or anger over his decision to return to Athletic Gómez also took the time to explain how things happened. He would have rather stayed at Alavés until the end of the season but all of the parties involved decided that the best thing was for the move to take place now.
“I don’t want to leave without clarifying some of the doubts that I know many have. I would have liked that my journey with Alavés would have lasted longer, but due to different circumstances that hasn’t been possible. Although, idyllically I would have liked to end the season here, both parties decided that it was the best thing for me to leave now. I also had the opportunity to leave in the winter of last year, but I could not leave the team in such a difficult situation and you cannot imagine how glad I am that I made that choice. Today I saw goodbye to a team in the Champions League zone of the table. I want to see you playing in Europe.”
In closing, Gómez made it very clear that he will always carry Alavés in his heart. He grew so much at the Mendizorrotza, not just as a footballer, and he hopes that the Glorioso will continue to do well without him in the team as he returns home to Athletic Club.
“Alaves has been my life throughout these two and half seasons. I have worked and strived every day to play my best. I have learned, laughed, cried, shouted, and I have enjoyed it like a child. Thank you, because without each one of you who are a part of this club, it wouldn’t have been possible. Part of my heart will always be Albiazul. I will take you with me wherever I go and I will feel eternally proud to be part of the history of this club. Thank you all very much. Agur eta mila esker bihotz bihotzez, Glorioso.”
Ibai Gómez will be presented as an Athletic player on Friday at 9:00am at the San Mamés and will speak to the press once again. He has signed a contract with the Zurigorri through 2022 that does not contain a release clause and will now wear the number 19 shirt since Iñigo Córdoba has taken the number 11 shirt. Athletic plan to include Gómez in the squad for Sunday’s La Liga match against Sevilla.