Javier Clemente “The Basque Derby Is The Most Beautiful Cup Final That You Can See”
As one of the most successful coaches in Athletic history, Javier Clemente is the last manager to lead the club to a Copa del Rey title. That Cup victory came back in 1984 and the Lions have been chasing silverware ever since. Always ready and willing to give his opinion on the club, Clemente admitted to Onda Vasca that he’s concerned the recent coronavirus outbreak could prevent the Cup final from taking place.
“If it’s not solved in two months then the final can’t be played. I don’t know when it will be played. It’s the most beautiful Cup final that you can see. There’s Athletic, the greatest, and on top of that it’s the most beautiful game that exists, the Basque Derby against Real Sociedad. The problem is that it’s very far and it’s very hot in Seville. They could have made it closer.”
In light of the rivalry between Athletic and Real Sociedad, Clemente says that whichever teams loses the final will suffer as a result. The legendary coach confessed that La Real have been the better team this season and says a defeat would would be a massive disappointment for Athletic.
“The loser of the final will have a problem. Losing a final is always bad. If we are the ones who lose then it would be hard because of our history in the Cup and because, in theory, we are bigger economically. We also have more supporters. We’ve played more finals but we must bear in mind that in 2020 La Real have been much better than us. They’ve had an impressive Cup against tougher opponents, are very well-placed in the league, and play good football. With the current situation it would be more displeasing for La Real if they lost, but by tradition it would be more punishing for us.”
Athletic’s road to the Cup final hasn’t been easy. The Basques overcame a number of trials and, along with the club’s experience, it’s this reason why Clemente believes that Athletic can pull off the victory to win the title.
“We have reached the final exhausted, in anguish, and after penalties against Segunda teams. Gaizka Garitano has said that “the Cup has punished us in the league” which is true although it required a lot of effort against teams we should have beaten easily. This break is good for us. In this regard it will be harder for La Real at the moment because of Athletic’s character, experience, titles, etc. Whoever loses will be punished and that’s the bad thing about the final being a Derby. It’s a title that hasn’t been achieved for many years.”
The Cup final, which was originally scheduled to take place at La Cartuja on 18 April, has been rescheduled without a specific date in place. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to plan too far in advance but the Spanish Federation and both clubs have made it clear that they do not want the final to be played behind closed doors. For now, Athletic’s dream of lifting a 25th Copa del Rey title must wait.