Unai Simón “The Path We Have Taken In The Cup Has Been Very Beautiful”
As cases of the coronavirus continues to rise in Spain the hopes of football returning soon seem bleak. For now, players are confined to their homes where everyone is trying to stay positive and keep in shape for when the season does resume. It’s an unprecedented situation for everyone, though Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simón said in an interview with Juanma Velasco of Marca that he’s handling it all rather well.
“After the Valladolid match I spent a few days at my parents’ house in Murgia which, although it’s close to Vitoria, has had no cases of Covid-19. Then I returned to Bilbao before everything closed down. I’m home and I have no problem. I had to stay confined for 15 days in January for mumps and had no problem. There are people who find it difficult to be alone, but for me it’s something bearable.”
Staying at home alone seems to be the best plan according to Simón, though he can’t deny that a lockdown would have been more enjoyable had it happened last year when he roomed with Gorka Guruzeta and Peru Nolaskoain.
“It’s true it might have been a bit more fun last season. I shared an apartment in Lezama with Guruzeta and Peru. I roomed with Guruzeta for three years and Peru came the last two. Sure it would have been more fun in that scenario, but with this situation I think it’s best to be alone. Right now the entire team is in a WhatsApp group so we are able to share joy and positive vibes.”
Keeping in shape during the football stoppage won’t be able. There’s no replacement for actually training everyday and playing games, especially for a goalkeeper, but the squad has been given specific plans to follow while confined at home.
“On Saturday and Sunday we were very aware of what could happen. On Monday the doctors and physical trainers gave us a work plan to do at home on mats and with an exercise bike. It’s a demanding routine to avoid losing fitness, but you have to do other things as well because the days are too long. No, I’m not throwing myself down the hall or jumping from bed to bed. The objective is to do continuous work so as not to lose physical shape. There is hope that next week we can return to training, but we must wait calmly.”
Along with a training plan, the players have also been given a meal plan to follow while at home. Simón says he got everything he needed while shopping and is trying to keep on track.
“The dietician has sent us some food plans to follow these days without getting off track. We’re professionals and each one knows his body well and what he needs. It helps us. The other day I went to purchase groceries and I have everything needed to carry out that specific diet.”
With no clear idea as to when the season will resume it’s hard to find positivity. “The games seem far away,” Simón admitted. “The first thing right now is to do our routines at home. After the calendar comes out we will play the league and try to win the Cup. Today I’m not thinking at all about what will happen next because I’m of the opinion that it will come when it comes.”
Above all else, Athletic are concerned about the Copa del Rey final which was scheduled to take place on 18 April. So far the Spanish Football Federation are unable to set a new date but, despite concerns that it might not be played, Simón is choosing to be optimistic about it all.
“When it was said that the Cup final might not happen the world fell apart. The path we have taken in the tournament has been very beautiful. We have suffered and we’ve been happy. Let’s hope that the situation improves, a date is set, both teams arrive well, we get to play it with both fans, and of course that we win it.”
The latest news in Spain is that La Liga believe the season could resume as early as late April or early May. RFEF president Luis Rubiales has revealed that he’s open to postponing the Cup final past June if necessary with the Federation and both clubs determined to play the Cup final with fans in attendance. For now, players and clubs can do nothing but wait.