Aitor Elizegi Hits Back At Villarreal President Fernando Roig

Aitor Elizegi

Aitor Elizegi defends Athletic Club’s signing of young players (AC)

Fernando Roig isn’t a happy man. The Villarreal President went on record earlier this season to criticize Athletic and other clubs for signing Villarreal’s youth players and a few days ago he was at it again. “It hurts us that Barcelona, Atlético, and Athletic Club steal our 15-year-olds because they aren’t yet professionals”, he said after the team’s 4-4 draw with Barcelona.

Of course, Roig was referring to Nico Serrano who signed for Lezama over the summer. The young winger was widely regarded as one of the top young players at Villarreal but chose to join Athletic where he has led the Juvenil B team in scoring with 20 goals this season. “Every year we’re robbed by the big team and every year we have players taken from us”, Roig continued.

It didn’t long for Athletic President Aitor Elizegi to respond. “We saw with him on our visit to Villarreal earlier this season”, Elizegi revealed. “He was hard but cordial. I told him ‘Fernando, we can only find Cadetes in a small part of the planet and that’s where Villareal came looking.”

Earlier this year Roig went as far to say that Villarreal were basically cutting ties with Athletic. He refused to partake in the customary luncheon before the two clubs faced off at San Mamés and doesn’t seem to have changed his tone. On the other hand, Athletic Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta has regularly stated that the Zurigorri aims to sign the very best young players for Lezama and that won’t be changing.

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