Aitor Elizegi “The First Thing I Did Was Congratulate Gaizka And The Players”
Aitor Elizegi inherited a difficult situation when he won the Athletic presidency back in December. The club was still in a battle against relegation but managed to turn it all around and compete for Europe until the final game of the season. Saturday’s loss to Sevilla saw the Lions finish 8th and the President believes that everyone should be proud of the team’s improvement.
“We have to value what we have seen in the team. That shot off the crossbar isn’t going to be forgotten because it would have made it 1-1. We have made a historic comeback. There is no time for disappointment. The first thing I did was congratulate Gaizka for what he has done and I did the same thing with each player for the way they turned it around. We have to leave with the feeling that we can repeat and we can be back among the six or seven top teams in the league. The good memories of this season will allow us to move forward starting in July.”
The club will change a lot this summer. Markel Susaeta, Ander Iturraspe, and Mikel Rico will all leave and the future of Aritz Aduriz is still uncertain. Elizegi believes that Aduriz will make the decision that’s in the best interest of the club and admitted that he did everything he could to value Susaeta properly.
“I’m sure Aduriz is thinking about what’s best for Athletic. My impression is that he will do what’s best for Athletic. The farewell to the others was a moment that all of us who love Athletic will not forget. Susaeta has been a great captain, a gentleman, and someone who wore the colors in his heart. He knows that this club is his home and we have to remember what he’s done for Athletic. I agree with Muniain that sometimes he has not been valued properly. I believe that I have valued him as many times as I could.”
Taking over as President in the middle of the season severely limited Elizegi’s ability to institute his changes and ideas. This summer the real work will begin and a new era will be underway. There’s plenty of reasons to be excited about the future, but for right now failing to qualify for Europe is certainly a disappointment.