Ibai Gómez “I Had Bigger Offers But I Decided To Come Here”
To celebrate his 150 appearances for Athletic Club, Ibai Gómez decided to invite 150 fans to a special gathering. On Wednesday he welcomed them all to the Hotel Gran Bilbao where there was a group picture, followed by a session of questions and answers, then finally a dinner. In total, the celebration took three hours and Gómez was as genuine as ever when discussing his future and what brought him back to San Mamés.
“I think I still have years of football left, but I would like to retire at Santutxu and spend half or one season at Sestao River. Last summer there was interest from several teams and in the winter market there were others, but I made the decision to stay in Vitoria until the call came from Athletic. When that call comes, from the team of your life, it changes everything. I had bigger economic offers but I decided to come here. I had an incredible two and a half years in Vitoria. There are people who say you can’t love two teams, but I say that you can. I made the decision because this is where I want to be.”
Being back at Athletic is a victory for Gómez. Due to injuries, he was forced to leave the club back in the summer of 2016 and there was a chance that he would never return. “Athletic has always been an example of love”, he explained. “There had been a blip, but it’s roaring back. The old San Mamés is possibly the best stadium that I have played in.” He was also asked about potential summer signings and responded by saying, “If we keep winning we don’t need to sign anyone.”
Gómez went on to reveal his footballing idols, neither of which came as a surprise. “Julen Guerrero and Zidane, and I have played with Zidane’s son”, he admitted.
For Ibai Gómez football has always been life and it wasn’t a surprise when he revealed his idols. “Julen Guerrero and Zidane, and I have played with Zidane’s son”, he answered. He grew up an Athletic fan and has now been given a second chance to live his dream of playing at San Mamés. He grew a lot during his time at Alavés, which has shaped who he is today. The winger got married and is now a father, though he refuses to force the game on his children. “I won’t push anything on my daughter, but if she likes football I would be happy for her to play at Athletic.”