Beñat “Athletic Means Everything To Me, I Would Stay Here All My Life”
It’s been over a month since Beñat last took the field. The midfielder has spent several weeks recovering from an ankle injury and is finally cleared and ready to play again. With Raúl García suspended for Athletic’s next match, Beñat could be included in the squad that will travel to Seville for a match against his former club Real Betis.
Following Wednesday’s training session, Beñat appeared before the media where he discussed his recent injury and the possibility of playing against Betis. The midfielder explained that it took a few weeks of training for the discomfort to subside and that he’s excited about the possibility of playing this weekend.
“I had discomfort the first week (after returning to training) and it starting going away in the second week. Right now I’m catching the rhythm, although you also need matches to get that rhythm. I believe I’m one hundred percent now. It would be great to return in Seville, it would be special. I would be very excited to go. I have a lot of relationships with the people there.”
Betis are currently on a two-game winning streak and will be a serious test for the Lions. Athletic have won just one game on the road this season and are determined to build on their momentum at the Benito Villamarín. “They are in a good dynamic but so are we and I think it will be a really nice game,” said Beñat. “They have very good players so we will have to play well.”
During the press conference, reporters also asked Beñat about his ongoing contract situation. The 32-year-old is currently in the final year of his deal and has been informed that the club will wait until closer to the end of the season to decide whether or not to offer a renewal based on his performance.
“It’s a difficult and complicated situation,” Beñat responded. “I don’t know how to say it, the truth is that the situation is rare, but this is football and you have to know how to handle it. We have a very deep squad. There are many great players and others who are arriving or who are going to arrive. I have to be calm and keep working.”
When asked whether or not he agreed with the club’s decision to wait and analyze his contributions this season, the Lezama product explained that it wasn’t his place to do so. “I won’t go there,” he responded. “It’s the decision of the sports management, of the club, and I have no choice but to respect it.”
Moving on, Beñat made it abundantly clear that he prefers to continue his career at Athletic. “What I want is to stay here. I feel identified with the club, with the way we play, and with the way of being, but this doesn’t depend on me alone. Athletic means everything to me. It’s the team of my life. It’s a dream that I have made come true.”
If the decision were left up to Beñat there would be no question about his future at San Mamés. “If it only depended on me I would stay here all my life but, of course, it doesn’t depend on me so I can’t close any doors. This is football. If you are going to finish a contract the normal thing is that offers come to you. You can’t close the door because you never know. ”
Beñat’s absence has given the opportunity for other players to shine and the 32-year-old was sure to highlight two teammates in particular. “Unai (López) has done very well, not only him, but all the players who have been having minutes. Oihan (Sancet) has been very good in the two games that he’s started. I see the team very strong.” With Beñat now back in the team Gaizka Garitano will have even more options to choose from as Athletic look to continue their unbeaten streak and climb the table.