Ibai Gómez “I’m Ready To Score My First Goal, But It’s Not An Obsession”
Athletic have completely turned the season around and bringing back Ibai Gómez in January certainly helped. The winger has played a big role in the team and recently said that the club doesn’t need to make any signings this summer if they continue winning games. He reiterated the same thing in an interview with Javier Beltrán of AS on Sunday.
“Well, in the end, it’s true that things are going well and we all want the best for Athletic. If we continue winning then no transfers are needed. Whenever the doors of Athletic are opened to players, they are always welcome. Llorente, Javi Martínez, and Ander Herrera are all great players and I have a great relationship with them.”
Gómez recently made his 150th appearance for Athletic and celebrated by spending the day with 150 fans. He wanted to thank the fans who have supported him and also show them that he’s a normal person, not just a footballer.
“It was an honor to reach 150 matches. The followers that I have on social media are very loyal. They give me a lot and I think it was a nice opportunity to get close to them and have a nice time. They were able to see that, above being football players, we are people too. I enjoyed it a lot. The idea came to me suddenly and I have to thank them.”
The international break is quickly coming to an end and Athletic will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to Girona. Gómez says that the team is still taking it just one game at a time, but we also have hope that they will be able to qualify for Europe with a top 7 finish this season.
“We want to win and keep adding points. We’re doing well and only thinking about the next game. Thinking about the short term is how we are doing so well. Obviously, the illusion of Europe if there and as long as there are options there is hope. I already saw a very good team when things weren’t going well. With a coach like Gaizka Garitano, who fits so well with the squad and trusts the team a lot, steps are being taken. We are growing and the next step is Girona. Let’s see how far we are able to go.”
Gómez is currently battling with Oscar De Marcos and Markel Susaeta for the starting right-wing role but says that the competition is good for the team. He also recognizes that being without Aritz Aduriz has naturally hurt Athletic, though he believes Iñaki Williams and Kenan Kodro have done a good job of covering the absence of the striker.
“The whole team is well covered at every position. There is a lot of competition at each position and the team is growing individually. Having healthy competition is always healthy for the group. It’s clear that we are missing a player who scores 20 goals every season, although we have Williams and Kodro and they are filling in well. Still, Aduriz makes the difference, just like Cristiano at Real Madrid.”
Having already scored 17 goals in his Athletic career, Gómez is still looking for his first strike since making his return. He admitted that he’s ready for it to come, though it’s not an obsession. The 29-year-old has been playing well and helping the team and made it clear that coming back to Athletic was the right decision.
“The other day Oblak made a good save and the truth is that I wanted to score. I’ ready to score my first goal since returning, but it’s not an obsession either. I have given an assist in the last two matches that has helped my morale and confidence. I also want to score a goal, but it will come. I would like to play in Europe next year. I’ve never hidden that I am from Athletic and that I want to be here. That’s why I came back, but after two years at Alavés I am also an Alavaista. The call from Athletic changed everything. Although I had offers from other clubs, some larger, I have no doubt that I made the right decision to come back.”
When Athletic take the field on Friday night at Montilivi they will have the chance to move into a tie for 7th place. The Lions need a win to keep pace in the race for Europe and Ibai Gómez will play a big role in reaching that goal. With just 10 games left on the calendar, there are only 30 points to play for and Athletic intend to treat every single match like a final.