Jesús Mari Lacruz “The Philosophy Of Athletic Has To Stay As It Is”
Rafa Alkorta was the first former Athletic defender to praise Yeray during the 24-year-old’s presentation after signing a contract renewal through 2026. “Yeray is the perfect center-back”, said the Sporting Director. “He’s a top player in his position, one of the top three center-backs in La Liga.” Alkorta would go on to compare Yeray to the likes of Carles Puyol, but he isn’t the only one to give the vote of confidence.
Speaking with Radio Marca on Friday, Jesús Mari Lacruz was also full of praise. The Osasuna product spent 9 years with Athletic, featuring in over 200 matches, and knows what it takes to succeed at San Mamés. “He’s a great defender and his renewal with Athletic is great news. With the potential he’s shown in recent years, it’s clear he has a big future at Athletic.”
Lacruz was then asked whether or not he thinks the team can challenge for Europe this season and is certain they will. “There is a base that can be trusted and enough quality to qualify for Europe”, he explained. “The other clubs also have good teams, but it’s the beauty of this sport that you don’t always know what will happen that gets us all hooked on football. The human level of football is special.”
The former defender also had words of support for Iker Muniain who started a trend last year when he signed a contract renewal without including a release clause. “It shows that the club has valued him highly and that he’s comfortable in Bilbao. He doesn’t seem to have any intention of leaving.” Since then Oscar De Marcos, Mikel Balenziaga, and Ibai Gómez have all signed contracts without clauses.
In closing, Lacruz weighed in on the discussion about Athletic’s unique player policy. “The philosophy of Athletic has to stay as it is”, he said firmly. “There’s nothing to change, no doubt. The club has worked so well for so long that there is no debate. It shouldn’t be changed.” For Jesús Mari Lacruz, the club philosophy is untouchable.