Aymeric Laporte “I Still Feel Part Of Athletic”
Historically, when a top player leaves Athletic the move is met with immense anger from fans. Fernando Llorente, Javi Martinez, Ander Herrera, and Kepa Arrizabalaga are the most recent to leave through the back door, as they say in Bilbao. However, on rare occasions a player is treated with more affection and even forgiven which is clearly the case with Aymeric Laporte.
Despite leaving for Manchester City two years ago, Laporte is still widely loved by Athletic supporters. Of course, the club’s immediate move to replace Laporte with Iñigo Martinez definitely softened the blow, but even without it his departure was vastly different than that of others in recent years.
Laporte’s nationality often saw him viewed as somewhat of a foreigner, although not in a negative way. Being French, it was easier for fans to accept that he had other aspirations. In addition, Laporte showed the club far more respect in the way that he made his exit. Unlike Ander Herrera who promised not to leave during a press conference only to join Manchester United 24 hours later, Laporte always left the door open for a possible departure.
Even though Laporte never promised to stay forever he did take commendable steps to protect Athletic were he to ever leave. The Lezama product regularly signed contract renewals which raised his release clause and ensured that Athletic would receive a fair compensation for any potential transfer.
Most importantly, Laporte has continuously showed his love for Athletic since departing. The 25-year-old has said on multiple occasions that he would like to return to San Mamés in the future while regularly supporting the club with social media posts, something others haven’t done. Laporte left in the best way possible and has kept a good image and relationship with fans.
Regardless of whether or not Laporte ever wears the Zurigorri shirt again he still considers himself an Athletic supporter and is eagerly looking forward to the Cup final. “Hopefully Athletic wins the Cup,” he said during an interview on the Adidas España Instagram page. “It would be better to play with the fans that always accompany us and help us a lot on the field. I speak in the first person because I still feel part of Athletic, who have given me so much.”
Depending on when the Copa del Rey final is rescheduled, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Laporte in attendance. Although he is no longer in Bilbao, Aymeric Laporte continues to maintain a great relationship with Athletic and the fans.