Markel Susaeta “I Always Dreamed Of Being An Athletic One Club Man, But Circumstances Have Not Made It So”
Wednesday was an emotional time in Bilbao. Athletic captain Markel Susaeta gave his farewell press conference following the announcement that he would not be signing a contract renewal with his boyhood club. The 31-year-old was clearly emotional and, as always, put the club first in every possible way. He began by admitting that the rumors have been hard to handle and that he believes leaving is the best thing for himself and Athletic.
“I wanted to reflect my current feelings with just a few words because we must not forget that the team will play for a lot on Sunday and we have to focus on finishing the season well. I am a discreet person who doesn’t like the headlines. The controversy surrounding my renewal hurts me a lot. Maybe I am the culprit for not saying anything and putting the interest of the club over my continuity. On Thursday I communicated that I did not want to continue and I believe the best thing for both is that I do not continue at the club.”
Susaeta went on to dispell some of the rumors that have surfaced over the past few months. He revealed that he told the club he had decided to leave and didn’t want to see their renewal offer. The Lezama product refused to get into details of why he made this decision, though he was very appreciative of the fact that the club tried to convince him to stay.
“Things have been said that aren’t true, for example that I had an offer from the previous Board. Last Thursday I conveyed that my decision was to not know the content of the offer. They tried to convince me to reconsider and I am very grateful that they wanted me to stay. I’ve always dreamed of being an Athletic One Club Man but, as I explained to them, circumstances have not made it so. I prefer not to discuss them and continue to be that discreet and responsible player that I have always tried to be.”
In short, Susaeta believes that his time at the club has come to an end. “The time has come to step aside and support the club as a fan and not as a player”, he said tearfully. “I don’t know where I will be next season because I haven’t thought about it yet, but I will be playing football because I still want to play and train every day.” Susaeta also took the time to thank everyone and found it hardest to say goodbye to his teammates who were also in tears.
“I want to thank the fans for their support in the good times and the bad times; to all the coaches that I have had because in all of this I have already learned from the best employees of the club who really make our day to day unbeatable. I want to thank my teammates…because they are real friends with whom I would go to war with. I am going to miss you a lot in the day to day.”
Markel Susaeta’s decision to leave Athletic is certainly emotional. The winger joined Lezama when he was just 9 years old and has spent a total of 22 years at the club. He’s given everything for the Zurigorri and leaves as one of the greatest players in the club’s history, having made 506 appearances throughout his career. Susaeta will always be remembered as a legend of San Mamés.