Aitor Fernández “Athletic Means A Lot To Me, Returning Home Will Be Very Special”
Several years ago Aitor Fernández was a promising young goalkeeper playing at Bilbao Athletic with a bright future ahead. However, despite growing up at Lezama, he was never able to break into the first team partly due to injuries and would eventually leave the club in 2013 to sign with Villarreal. After a successful spell with Numancia, Fernández would find his home with Levante in 2018 where has become a very important player.
“I was already training with the first team when I was 16 and was very confident in myself,” Fernández told Fuera de Juego in a recent interview. “I’m stuck with the thorn of not having debuted with the first team, but I wasn’t prepared for that at that age. When I was injured Kepa was the one who replaced me and look what happened. You never know what would have happened if I had not been injured. Now I’m playing in the Primera although I didn’t debut until I was 27 years old.”
With Oier Olazabal currently injured, Fernández would be the one to start Sunday’s match for Levante at San Mamés. However, that might not happen. The goalkeeper has been summed to serve at a polling stating on that day for the Spanish elections but is hopeful that there can be a resolution.
“I have left everything in the hands of the club,” Fernández responded when asked about the issue. “They are talking to the people they have to talk to so that I won’t have to be present. Everything indicates that I will be able to play at San Mamés. The club is doing everything possible so that I won’t have to be at the polling station at 8am. Hopefully there will be no need for me to go.”
Playing against Athletic would be very special for Fernández. “Athletic means a lot to me. I arrived at the club when I was 11 and they educated me along with my family,” said the goalkeeper. “Athletic prepared me for a life in football and made me the person I am. I have many friends there and it’s one of the greatest clubs in La Liga. Returning home again will be something very special.”
Although the 28-year-old has finally found a club where he can succeed, Fernández hopes to return to Athletic at some point in the future. “Right now I’m very focused on Levante, but I have been away for 8 years and at some point in my career I would like to return home.” Perhaps Aitor Fernández will one day wear the Athletic shirt, but on Sunday he returns to San Mamés as an opponent.