Yeray “Playing The Cup Final Without Fans Isn’t An Option That Should Be Considered”
Life has changed a great deal since the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to football along with many other things. Instead of playing games and training every day, footballers are confined to their homes without any idea as to when the season will be able to resume. Speaking to Radio Popular on Thursday, Yeray explained that he’s taking the exercises very seriously at home in order to be in the best shape possible when he returns.
“The days go by quickly which is the most important thing. I do the workouts a couple of times each day, in the morning and afternoon, as well as some cardio on the treadmill and also some strength work. The plans we’ve been given are also created to help prevent injuries. Every one has a plan according to what they have had and now it’s a good time to recover from these things. We all handle it better or worse, but it’s also important to prioritize the right food. I’ve even been losing weight.”
In light of the football stoppage there will be a negative impact on clubs across Europe. Without television revenue and ticket sales clubs will be facing a financial strain, though Yeray is confident in Athletic’s situation.
“Both myself and my teammates are calm. Athletic has always come out ahead in the face of adversity and had no problems, but if at any time the club needs us to lower our wages nobody is going to have any kind of problem with it because football and money are secondary. Primera clubs should have a large amount saved for this type of circumstance. You have to wait to see what happens because things change from one day to the next, but Athletic should be fine.”
At this point there is no way to determine whether or not the rest of the season will take place. Leagues seem to be optimistic about resuming at some point, but that may not be possible given that coronavirus cases continue to increase.
“I have no idea if we will be able to finish the season. Hopefully we can, that’s what we all want, and thinking about the Cup final gives us all great joy. Playing games every 48 hours to finish the season has been mentioned and that would be different. You would see a lot of fatigue because playing eleven times in a month and a half would be outrageous. If that ends up being the case we would have no problem with it because what we want is to finish the league.”
Apart form the league, Athletic’s biggest concern is the Copa del Rey final. The Lions haven’t won the title since 1984 and Yeray says that playing the match behind closed doors can’t happen because fans deserve to enjoy the historic fixture.
“Playing the Cup final without fans isn’t an option that should be considered. This is something that doesn’t happen every year, it’s not like Barcelona or Madrid that make it more often. We have a lot of desire to face Real Sociedad with a title at stake and the fans are super excited as well, but right now it’s secondary. The important thing is to be well and to have your family healthy.”
When asked if he thinks the fans would forgive the players if they lost the final, Yeray admitted that it hasn’t crossed his mind. The only focus is on winning the Cup and celebrating it with the fans.
“Our only thought is winning the Cup final and everything that will take place in Bilbao following. I don’t even want to think about not winning. I’m very convinced that it will be a great moment. We will suffer, but we are going to win. We have a rivalry with Real Sociedad that began many years ago, but perhaps the rivalry is more them than us.”
Although Yeray won’t agree to dyeing his hair if Athletic wins the Cup, he would like to get a tattoo. “I won’t make any promises to do anything if we win,” he said. “I have been asked several things, such as dyeing my hair red. I suppose I would get the date of the day we win as a tattoo. I’m not much for tattoos either, but winning the Cup is something that doesn’t happen much in life so surely I would tattoo it somewhere.”
Yeray has been one of the best center-backs in Europe this season and his partnership with Iñigo Martinez has yielded phenomenal results. Whenever the Cup final takes place, the pair will have to be at their very best to silence Real Sociedad’s fiery attack if Athletic are to win the club’s 25th Copa del Rey title and take out La Gabarra.