Ander Capa “I’ve Never Played A Final And I Want To Play The Cup Final With Athletic”
Throughout his entire life Ander Capa has supported Athletic. Even when he was playing for Eibar the right-back was still an Athletic Socio and finally achieved his dream of playing for the Lions when he joined the club in 2018. Now the 28-year-old has a new dream, to win a title with the Zurigorri, and could do just that when Athletic meet rivals Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey final.
“There’s no stress, but there are concerns over when the final will be played,” Capa told Pako Ruiz of DEIA when asked if the football stoppage has him worried about the Cup final. “I’ve never played a final and I want to play it with Athletic. I think about it a lot. I don’t know how it would feel to be in a final but I’m sure it’s incredible as my teammates have told me. We can’t obsess over the date because we are aware that we have to wait.”
Capa acknowledged that Athletic made the Cup a priority from the very beginning which had a negative affect on the league campaign. “We have gone for the Cup from the beginning and if we win it we get into the Europa League,” he said. “It’s true that if we lose it will look like the wrong decision because it has cost us in the league, but we aren’t thinking about that possibility. We have to win the final.”
Although there is no word on when the final will take place, 26 July has been mentioned as a possible date. To Capa, playing a final in Seville during the summer would be difficult.
“I haven’t heard about any specific dates for the Cup final. We will have to wait but playing in Seville when it’s 45 degrees would be criminal. If games are played in July and August the circumstances will be the same for everyone.”
As far as La Liga is concerned, Capa is hopeful that the season can be completed. “I’m being optimistic, but the way things are right now it looks a little bleak,” he admitted. “They said that my mid-May the league would resume, but those forecasts were off and the truth is that today we don’t know a date.”
No one wants to see the season end as it is right now. Apart from the financial impact that would have, many clubs were in the midst of important battles for promotion, European qualification, and fighting relegation.
“There’s been talk of starting at the end of June and finishing in early August. If that’s the last option there is then we will do it. If there is no other option and we can’t finish the league it would be very unfair for those who are fighting relegation and, above all, for those who have the possibility of earning promotion. In our case we have a Cup final and don’t know when it will be played.”
Over the years Athletic have traditionally used a 4-2-3-1 formation, although that changed in January with Gaizka Garitano’s move to a 3-5-2. When asked about his opinion, Capa admitted that he prefers to play with the regular four defenders.
“I feel comfortable in both, but personally I like to play more with four defenders. Playing with three center-backs leaves you very exposed and when you have the ball there’s not as much support. With four defenders there is more support and connections. I’m not saying that I dislike playing with three defenders, but rather that I like the other system more.”
Capa has been one of Europe’s best right-backs over the past year and was a candidate to be named to the Spain squad for EURO2020 before the tournament was postponed. Although he hasn’t given it much thought, he hopes to make the team next summer.
“I really haven’t thought about it. I wish that I was preselected or chosen for the team, which would be good news, but in the end you have to work day by day. There are players like Dani Carvajal who have their places. I don’t know if the train has passed, but I hope not.”
Apart from football, Capa says that he’s doing well in spite of the quarantine. Not being able to leave home except for essentials is frustrating, but the defender certainly recognizes the importance of following the instructions from healthcare professionals.
“I’m handling the confinement as best as I can really. Being at home doesn’t leave much to do, but the club has already brought me a bike and material to help follow the guidelines that have been recommended to us. I do power exercises in the mornings and in the afternoons more upper body. I find training at home to be a bit boring. I leave the house as little as possible and I take the suggested measures seriously. I even put on my mask when I go to the supermarket.”
Not playing or training every day at Lezama has repercussions, but also benefits. Capa’s ongoing ankle problems has had plenty of time to heal but the 28-year-old also says that team’s will need the chance to get back in shape before the season resumes.
“I hope that when we start training again we will quickly get the tone we had before the break. On a personal level I’m confident that I will be at the level I was before or even better. When we return I imagine that we will have to do a kind of mini-preseason to recover what we have lost in muscle and rhythm. My ankle is much better and this break has helped me recover. When I played it would end up swelling, but the discomfort is disappearing.”
The football stoppage will have a significant financial impact on football clubs and many have already begun the process of lowering wages to offset losses. Capa confirmed that the club has shared possible scenarios with the players, but that conversations about wage reductions won’t take place until there is more clarity on what will happen with the league.
“They haven’t directly told us anything specific. Yes we have seen and heard some news about it, but until we know what happens with the league and the schedule to return no decision will be made between the club and the players. Once the return date and specifics are known there will be a conversations to make a decision. In principle there is will not be an immediate reduction of wages. If the gesture is needed by the club there will be no problem on our part.”
Before the pandemic began Capa had just begun renewal talks with Athletic. “I only know from my agents that there has been a first communication, but nothing more because of what is happening right now,” he explained. “I haven’t received any specific offer.” Both Athletic and Ander Capa want to extend and improve the current contract, though for now there are more important matters.