Ibai Gómez “Football Belongs To The Fans”
Professional athletes are required to follow strict diets and training schedules to stay in the best shape possible, but some take it more seriously than others. For Athletic winger Ibai Gómez, a cancer scare changed his outlook on living a healthy lifestyle and now he’s more dedicated than ever before. Speaking with 20 Minutos, the 30-year-old explained just how important it is to take proper care of his body in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is showing us all what is truly important in life, to leave the criticism and envy aside. The value is in your family and in your people. I have learned to value health. Without health we are nothing, health is vital. Diet, stress, rest…health. Three years ago they detected a melanoma on my back that fortunately was caught on time and I’m doing great, but it happened. We have nothing, we are nothing without health.”
Gómez shared that he was very scared when the melanoma was found. Although he ended up being fine, the discovery drastically changed the way he views eating well and exercising.
“We have to live life, but live healthy. Nothing assures you anything, but investing in health seems vital to me. That day I was scared because it could end my life. The second they opened me up everything was clean, but still. That’s why I give so much importance to what I do and that’s why I also try to teach everything I do on social media. In difficult times is when you need people who have been through the same thing to help you and guide you.”
Being quarantined at home can be difficult for some, but Gómez is following a detailed routine. Between exercising, relaxing, and spending time with family he’s found a fairly good balance.
“I’m serious about having less free time now than before. I get up in the morning and while I drink coffee I send videos, read the news, and respond to people who have sent me messages. After the first training session that lasts and hour and a half I take a shower and eat. I do sit for a while after lunch, but at three I have an English class because I want to learn a little more. After the second class I have the second training session, get in the pool, then shower and dinner. Later we have time dedicated to family and we play with the kids. We’re taking advantage of the fact that we have more time with them now.”
Some teams have started training together at home with the everyone connected through telecommunications. “We talk daily but separately,” Gómez laughed when asked if Athletic have done something similar. “You see the problems we have doing these interviews, imagine if we all had to train together like this.”
Recently there’s been talk of teams being able to return to training next month, albeit it with strict guidelines. The hope is that the season will be able to resume even if games have to be played behind closed doors.
“I’m one of those who thinks that football without an audience isn’t football. Health is the most important thing but I don’t know what time there will be to play. Football belongs to the fans, but the priority is health and that’s why it’s very difficult to make decisions.”
Everyone is eager for football to return, but that’s not the greatest longing for Gómez. “I miss my parents,” he says. “Visiting them will be the first thing I do when this is over. I will see them and hug them. Fortunately my parents are doing very well but I miss them very much and I really want to hug them.”
The ongoing health crisis has given everyone an opportunity to reflect on what really matters. Gómez recognizes that the situation is still very serious and wants to thank those who are still working each day to help others.
“The gravity of the situation is showing us that we need each other. There are many people who are going through a very serious moment. There are many people who are dying and people who are getting sick. I just want to send a lot of strength to those who are working every day and thank those in the medical field, those cleaning, deliver people, and people who work in the supermarkets. A heartfelt thanks!”
Like others, Gómez and his family look forward to going out to applaud the workers every night at 8pm. “It’s what we do just before dinner. There’s no doubt that it’s something we get excited about and I’m very excited when I see everyone come out together. It’s emotional.”
In conclusion, Gómez took a moment to offer encouragement. Things are slowly improving throughout the country and the Athletic star called on everyone to keep doing their part to help.
“I think we are all learning a lot and I’m convinced that we will come out it very strongly. Each day that passes is one day closer to returning to normal. We must continue being responsible because as long as we are responsible we will continue saving lives and will return in a better way than we think.”
If the La Liga season is able to resume players will need time to get back into proper shape before matches start again. Training at home isn’t the same as being on the field, but Ibai Gómez has worked very hard to be as prepared as possible when football returns.