Iago Herrerín Will Reportedly Seek To Leave Athletic In The Summer
Iago Herrerín has fulfilled his childhood dream of playing for Athletic but it’s been far from what he expected. After featuring as the backup goalkeeper to Gorka Iraizoz and Kepa Arrizabalaga, the Lezama graduate was given the starting role last season and faced immense ridicule. For years Athletic fans have criticized Herrerín’s way of playing the position, but it soon turned to personal insults about his weight and even threats.
The 32-year-old hasn’t been shy about the negativity he faces on a daily basis. Herrerín has often called for fans to show more respect and admitted that he’s gone home from training and games on multiple occasions in tears. For a player living his dream, it’s been far more like a nightmare.
Herrerín’s time as the starter didn’t last long. Unai Simón eventually took over his place in the lineup and has been one of the very best goalkeepers in Europe this season. “Unai has been at a tremendous level,” Herrerín said during a press conference last month. “He’s making saves, he’s comfortable and confident, and that gives the team everything. I’m glad for him and hope he continues at this level.” Both goalkeepers have shared that they have a very close relationship, but there is also competition with one another.
While not the starter in La Liga, Herrerín has continued to feature as the Cup goalkeeper which he has done for most of his career. He played well until the trip to Tenerife where he was shown a red card at the very beginning of the game and nearly cost the team the match. Simón would start the following fixture against Barcelona with Herrerín suspended.
Athletic’s win over Barcelona was historic, though it wasn’t the best of nights for Herrerín. Along with being forced to miss the game, Herrerín got into an altercation with a fan hours after the match had ended after being verbally assaulted while waiting for a taxi. To make matters worse, Herrerín was then dropped from the starting lineup for Simón in the following semifinal first leg against Granada.
Herrerín has handled the backup role well, though he isn’t satisfied with the limited minutes. “The club is clear that they want me here,” he told reporters in January. “The important thing isn’t knowing a role, but accepting it. I wasn’t happy at first. Then, after talking, I’ve tried to accept it. It’s not the first time I’ve found myself in this situation.” A lot has changed in a month.
Being dropped for Simón in the Cup match against Granada sent a message to Herrerín that his time at the club may be coming to an end. Although his contract doesn’t expire until June of 2021, Javier Beltrán of AS reports that Herrerín will look to leave Athletic this summer if his situation doesn’t change, which isn’t expected to happen.
Gaizka Garitano has publicly supported Herrerín on numerous occasions and wants to have two reliable goalkeepers in the squad. However, Herrerín is growing unhappy with his opportunities and the unwarranted treatment he’s received from fans. Sitting on the bench Wednesday night may have been the final straw for Herrerín and his sending off against Tenerife could very well be his last appearance in an Athletic shirt.
Athletic will likely try to convince the veteran goalkeeper to continue at the club for the remainder of his contract, but Herrerín may just want to hit the reset button this summer and look to enjoy the final years of his career elsewhere. For now, Iago Herrerín remains under contract for one more season and is ready to give his all for his boyhood club if called upon in the months ahead.