Cristian Ganea “I Have The Level To Play, I Will Never Doubt That”
Cristian Ganea’s move to Athletic hasn’t panned out the way he had hoped. For the second straight season the Romanian hasn’t been part of the manager’s plan and last month Ganea returned to Viitorul on loan. The 27-year-old recently sat down for an interview with Javier Beltrán of AS where he explained that his time in Bilbao has been challenging.
“It’s not easy after eight or nine months without playing. Even if you train, games are where you get your rhythm but every game you play you get better. It was a hard few months. I only trained and the opportunity never came on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s not easy to go so many months without playing. That’s why I decided to leave in January, to look for minutes and enjoy what I like to do, which is play football. I couldn’t spend another five months just taking shots at Lezama. ”
While Ganea normally plays left-back he’s been used mainly as an attacking midfielder since returning to Viitorul. It’s been a learning experience, but he says he’s comfortable in the new position.
“I’ve played three games and the coach has played me in the midfield. The team lacks players in those positions and the coach sees those qualities in me. It helps me to get experience. I have no problem playing in midfield. Three years ago I already played several games in the middle of the field. I’m very happy here. I’m playing more in the midfield but I’m very comfortable and wanting to play more games.”
Ganea’s only minutes at Athletic this season came in a friendly against Barakaldo. The Romanian put in a good performance and admits that he though that game was going to change his situation, but that wasn’t the case.
“The Barakaldo game was my first 45 minutes this season. I think I did fine and, honestly, after that game I thought I was going to have options. I showed that I have the level to play, I will never doubt that, but the same thing happened. The coach didn’t count on me.”
A number of clubs from the Segunda were interested in signing Ganea, but a move never materialized. In the end, teams couldn’t afford his wages and that’s why returning to Romanian was the best option.
“I would’ve liked to stay there and be closer to the club, but in the end it could;dn’t happen because there were issues with my wages. They told me that they loved me but couldn’t pay my wages. There are differences in the Romanian League. The level in Spain is much higher.”
Like Ganea, Asier Villalibre and Mikel Vesga also weren’t playing at the beginning of the season but things have changed. “They were in a similar situation to mine and they ended up playing. Obviously, I’m happy for them and they are doing well. I’m glad for them. I would’ve liked to be among them and enjoyed options to play, but by chance or other reasons it hasn’t been that way.”
Despite not having minutes, Ganea’s time at Athletic has helped him become a better player. Even on loan he’s been in contact with his teammates and the club and hopes to prove himself while away.
“I’ve learned a lot of things at Athletic like how to behave and prepare for games. That’s helped me a lot. You work at another level there with the treatment of the physios and doctors. I still talk with my teammates from Athletic because we have a good friendship and they are worried about me. Rafa Alkorta has also sent me messages after games.”
Ganea will return from loan this summer with the determination to earn his place. The 27-year-old will be in direct competition with Yuri Berchiche who he recognizes is one of the best left-backs in the world at the moment.
“Yuri is a special player and I know it because I trained with him every day. We all know that he’s an extraordinary player, that he’s very good and has incredible quality. I will come back in July and see what happens. I still have the same hope of getting minutes to prove that I’m worthy. That’s my goal.”
At the end of the interview Ganea gave his thoughts on Athletic’s season to this point. He explained that making a deep run in the Cup has negatively impacted the league campaign, but hopes that the team will advance to the final with a chance to win the title.
“I think the Cup has influenced the league, the players have fatigue. Matches in the league have been decided by small details but that will change for sure. I hope Athletic can win the Cup, but it will be complicated. We already won the first leg 1-0 although things are difficult at Granada’s field. If we score a goal we’ve done it. Let’s go to the final.
Cristian Ganea has one more year remaining on his contract with Athletic which means that next season will be his last chance to earn a place in the team. The Romanian is determined to prove himself and enjoy a career at San Mamés. For that to happen, Ganea must first impress while away on loan and so far he’s done well since returning to Viitorul.