Dani García “I Play An Important Position And I Enjoy My Work”
Since joining Athletic last season Dani García has been a very important player in the team. In Gaizka Garitano’s system the midfielder is responsible for providing coverage for the defenders, but is still waiting to score his first goal for the Zurigorri. There’s always a chance that the goal could finally come in the Copa del Rey final which would be an unbelievable feeling.
“At that moment I suppose I would go crazy,” García answered when asked about possibly scoring in the final during an interview with GOL. “I don’t know how I would react.” Like many others, García can’t imagine playing the final without fans in attendance but also recognizes the challenges of the current health crisis.
“The important thing is that the fans enjoy it, otherwise it would be a very cold final. It was going to be a great final and we still want it to be. Now it depends on those above us. We can’t ignore what is happening. There are people who are risking their lives to stop this and we aren’t going to be the ones to screw it up.”
Along with wanting fans to be present for the Cup final, García also hopes to see Aritz Aduriz in the team. The striker was initially planning to retire at the end of the season but is expected to sign a renewal through whenever the final takes place.
“We hope that the club renews him until the final, be it October or December or whenever it has to be played. He has to play it and finish the way that he deserves. Every time you see him training he’s very happy. He won’t want to miss the final.”
The immediate future of football is still uncertain with no clarity as to when or if the season will be completed. It’s been over a month since Athletic last took the field and García is eager to kick the ball again even if the campaign doesn’t return until the summer.
“I’ll be happy to play again whenever and whatever the temperature. I already played a promotional playoff with Eibar that was in June and it was fine. The rest between games is more important to me than the schedule. Every time I watch a replay of a game on TV it makes me want to compete again even more.”
García may not be the player that draws attention during matches, but his specific role is integral to the team’s success. “I play an important position that I like and I enjoy my work,” he shares. “It may not be very attractive, but I care that I’m valued in the locker room and by the coach. I know that my work makes it much easier for the defenders so that they don’t suffer as much and I’m proud.”
Always looking to improve, the 29-year-old explained that he’s been watching old Athletic matches to learn from others. “I look at opponents or other teams that do things different to improve,” he said. “I’ve been looking back at Bielsa’s Athletic and watching Iturraspe. I already knew that team was great, but I’ve been struck by how they played and the weight Iturraspe had in the team.”
García went on to say that he’s very comfortable in his current role, which he also played at Eibar when Garitano was manage, but joked about how he struggled once José Luis Mendilibar took over the team.
“I had a bad time at first under Mendilibar because I came from being a more static pivot under Garitano. Gaizka asked me to stay further back to provide coverage and help the defense press. Mendi asked me to do the opposite, to forget about the back and only look forward. I took many risks and was close to panicking sometimes. We played a friendly against Osasuna and really struggled. I called my agent after and told him to get me out of Eibar because I couldn’t play like that.”
Interestingly, the midfielder also revealed that he was a Real Madrid supporter growing up. His days as a fan are long over, though he does enjoy playing in Madrid because he admires the stadium.
“When I was little my father made me a Real Madrid fan. I used to be a very big fan. Now I no longer have that feeling that I had before, but I don’t deny it because denying it would be foolish. Other than San Mamés, the Bernabéu is the stadium that most impresses me. You look up and can see the whole stadiums. The Pizjuán and Villamarín also stand out. They are different because of the atmosphere.”
In closing, García touched on the squad’s agreement to lower wages in light of the football stoppage. “The club knew that when they needed us we were going to be there and we have been there,” he said. “The issue was handled behind closed doors. We must be aware that in both football and all areas of work this is going to take a toll and the reduction had to be done.”
Dani García has never played in a final nor in Europe, which makes the Cup final against Real Sociedad one of the biggest games of his career. Now in the peak of his career, the former Eibar captain is anxiously awaiting the chance to lift a trophy with Athletic Club.