Raúl García “I Have To Try To Be Better Every Day”
Raúl García signed a new contract with Athletic on Saturday, extending his deal through 2021 and omitting a release clause. Rumors have suggested that Osasuna were hoping to bring back the midfielder next year when his previous contract expired, but the 33-year-old had no plans to leave Athletic. Speaking to the media on Saturday, García explained that he was happy to get the renewal finalized so that he can focus on the season.
“The occasion was ideal because we wanted to get it done quickly. It’s better to have it completed and think about what we have to do this season. I want to thank the club for this opportunity. I will try to repay their faith in me with more involvement and commitment if possible. Not having a release clause is a gesture that shows the commitment from both sides. I am a man of my word and my handshake is better than a signature. It’s good for both parties.”
García went on to share he believes the only way to achieve success is through hard work and dedication. The midfielder says he fits in well at Athletic and it’s his commitment that has made him a fan favorite at San Mamés.
“I’ve been educated in a way where only work and effort get things done, where I can be better every day and help those around me. I’ve seen the cost of success and that’s why I think I’ve fit in well here. I have to try to be better every day, that’s my job. I prioritize work over everything else and that’s why I think I have the respect everywhere I’ve been.”
When asked why he only extended his contract for one season, García admitted that he doesn’t know how well he will be performing in the future. He prefers to focus on the present, though he would like to continue playing football for many more years if he is able to do so. Lining up alongside 39-year-old Aritz Aduriz brings García joy.
“I don’t like to think years ahead when I don’t know how I will be. When I see that I can’t contribute anymore I don’t want to continue playing football. I’m happy to sign for another year and I want to continue being important and contributing to this team. I would like to play until I’m 39 like Aduriz. The age issue has changed a lot because athletes take great care of themselves. I always want to have the best at my side and the people who like to compete like me. I appreciate playing with him.”
The midfielder scored 9 goals last season, many of which came in big moments. That being said, García doesn’t care much about individual success and is more concerned with how the team is performing as a whole. He’s happy to contribute goals and wants to help others do the same.
“I don’t give much importance to scoring individual goals, because everyone contributes goals. Today, goals are worth a lot and those who score help the team, but everyone has to step up and take responsibility. I will try to continue contributing goals and helping my teammates score too.”
The topic of one day returning to Osasuna was brought up, but García was quick to point out that he’s happy at Athletic. He isn’t thinking about the future and says there’s no need to be concerned with it right now.
“I am sure about where I am and I don’t have time to think about other things. I am happy here and there are no other things in my head. I look at the short term. It’s hard to say, but I don’t think about other things. Speculation is cheap and free, but if I’m happy here there’s no room for other things in my head, I don’t waste time on those subjects.”
In closing, García highlighted that Athletic are going into a very important season. He will need to give his best on a personal level and, if the entire team can play their best, the Lions will be able to challenge for Europe. A top-six finish is the goal, though García wants to take it one game at a time.
“This is a season to compete at the highest level, to give the maximum, and those below give freshness and desire. Since I came here, when it comes to objectives, I don’t look beyond the next game, preparing for Barcelona. Qualifying for Europe is nice, but you will see the day to day. The first game is against Barcelona and we have to start the season in the best possible way. We have hope to the fullest. I’m very excited about the new season, let’s see if we can do some nice things. I will try to arrive every day in the best possible way to help the team.”
Raúl García has scored 48 goals in 169 appearances since joining Athletic in 2015. This will be his sixth year at San Mamés and the 33-year-old hopes that he can help lead the team back to Europe after two consecutive seasons of failing to qualify.