Unai López “In Times Like This We Must Value What We Have”
Athletic should be preparing to play the Copa del Rey final tomorrow, but the health crisis of the last month has brought the world of football to a halt. Instead of training, the players are quarantined at home and dreaming of taking the field again. At this point it’s unclear as to when the season will resume but the Lions are eager to play the final.
“It could have been one of the most important days of our lives,” said Unai López during an interview with Radio Marca Bilbao. “Hopefully we can play the final soon, we’re all thinking about it every day. I’m from Donosti and have friends from La Real. It will be a very special match.”
Having joined Athletic from Real Sociedad as a teenager, the final will be a unique experience for López. “My transfer was a little atypical,” he mentioned. “I was young and it wasn’t that big of a deal, but there is always a stir when someone goes from Real to Athletic or from Athletic to Real. I knew how to handle it well and I’m happy to be here and to belong to this great club.”
López is currently staying at home with his parents where he is following the training plans provided by the club to stay in the best shape possible. Still, not being able to leave the house can be difficult.
“The confinement is already feeling long, but the break has been good after the Cup run and playing so many games in a row. It’s important to have a routine, to have things to do throughout the day. We are also trying to interact with each other on social media and play games online. These days I’m playing with Iñaki a lot but everyone in the team gets along very well.”
The midfielder went on to admit that the team never thought the situation would become as serious as it is now. Football has become far less important as healthcare workers fight to save lives every day.
“We talked in the locker room about how things were going with Covid-19 but nobody imagined that this would be the case. I hope that normality returns soon because it would mean that people are healing, that people aren’t dying. Until then there is no other choice but to wait and stay at home. Everyone is thinking about the final, but right now there are more important things.”
Setting a new date for the final is still impossible at the moment but both clubs are willing to wait as long as possible for it to be safe for fans to attend. “It’s what we all want,” López agreed. “None of us can imagine a final without fans, but there are more important things to solve before the final can be played. We all wish to play it soon and, if possible, for our fans to be with us.”
In light of the pandemic López hopes that everyone will learn from what is happening right now. “In times like this we must value what we have at home and realize that we can do well with little,” he said. “We must value parents and grandparents. I think this will help us all value the little things and what it means to even go on a walk.” Football is missed, but for now it must wait.