Asier Villalibre “I Feel Relief And Immense Happiness”
It’s been over three years since Asier Villalibre made his Athletic debut as a 19-year-old. After three loan spells and a return to Bilbao Athletic the young striker scored his first goal in Saturday’s 4-0 cup win over Sestao River. Villalibre has enjoyed a much more important role at Athletic over the past few months and was thrilled to finally put the ball in the back of the net.
“I feel relief and immense happiness,” Villalibre told reporters after the game. “I had a thorn in my side and it’s a dream to score with the first team. I positioned myself well on those chances, but I have other things to improve. It’s a very big boost of confidence. I’m having more minutes and I’m grateful and happy.”
Villalibre nearly scored a header just four minutes into the game but would respond with two impressive goals later on. “I’m very happy. The first chance didn’t go in and I was fortunate to score on the second and do well. I had desire to score my first goal with the first team and I’ve done it.”
Like many other young players, Villalibre has had to wait for his chances. Competing with Kenan Kodro for minutes has helped the striker improve as a player and he’s looking forward to earning more chances.
“If you aren’t playing and have no rhythm you can’t make mistakes. I must try to be at my best to have more minutes and continue like this. You have to be patient and understand the players. The competition is very healthy. We get along well and the competitiveness makes us grow. Garitano asks us to press, support the defense, and be in position to score goals.”
Earlier in the season it seemed as though Villalibre was destined to leave on loan in January but that has changed. After the match against Sevilla last week Gaizka Garitano said that the striker wouldn’t be leaving. “I respect what the coach says,” Villalibre added. “He’s counting on everyone and I try to repay his confidence on the field.” Asier Villalibre has already made six appearances this season and could earn many more opportunities moving forward.