Cristian Ganea “I’m Looking Forward To Returning”
Athletic’s signing of Cristian Ganea two years ago came as a complete surprise. Not many fans had ever heard of the Romanian international but were optimistic that he would be able to contribute to the team upon arrival. However, Ganea’s start to life in Bilbao didn’t go as he had hoped with the club also bringing in Yuri Berchiche who quickly earned the starting role.
Ganea would soon leave for Numancia on loan where he played well but was unable to solidify a place in the Athletic team when he returned. In January the 27-year-old returned to former club Viitorul Constanta on loan where he has one again flashed his quality. On Friday Ganea took part in a virtual press conference with other Athletic loanees and spoke about the importance of having regular playing time.
“If we are on loan it’s to find a better place for us, to be able to play. We would all like to be at home and on our field, but sometimes we have to make an effort like this. Playing helps you mature and that’s good.”
Ganea is happy with his performances for Viitorul but hopes this is the last time he will have to go out on loan. Once he returns at the end of the season he will do everything possible to convince the manager.
“I’m looking forward to returning. Last year I was loaned to Numancia where I did quite well and played every game. Then I tried to stay at Athletic and enjoy some more minutes, but it didn’t happen. So, I have decided to go on loan again but I think I’m experienced enough, old enough, to succeed. I want this to end here, to do my best and come back in the summer to see what happens.”
Since joining Athletic there have been many questions over what position Ganea should play. In Romania he featured mainly as a wide attacking player but eventually transitioned to left-back. Now Ganea is playing mostly in the midfield, but says he’s most comfortable in attack.
“I didn’t know my situation, what position I was going to play, so to speak. I came from six or seven months without playing practically any minutes and it was difficult when I arrived here. Now I’m doing well and the last few games were very good. I end scored a goal and I’ve enjoyed playing in midfield. I’ve already said that I feel more comfortable on the wing, but I can play left-back and in midfield as well. I’ve played almost all my life as a winger.”
Looking back, Ganea clearly recalls the day he found out that he would be joining Athletic. Having grown up in the Basque Country, he was very excited to be able to return home where he still has family.
“Of course I remember the moment that I was signed by Athletic. I was talking to my representative almost every day because I had two or three first class offers, but I never doubted that I wanted to go home. It was a very special day when my agent told me that had happened. I’m very happy. I fulfilled a dream and I’m grateful to Athletic.”
If Ganea is able to earn a place at Athletic there’s a chance that he could see the field in the Copa del Rey final with the match unlikely to be played until next season. “I would love to play the final,” he said excitedly. “Even if I was on another team I would be at the stadium. I don’t know when it’s going to be played. It’s all up in the air so we will see.
Ganea has been instrumental for Viitorul since returning to the club in January and has shown the same quality which caught Athletic’s attention a few years ago. If he continues to play at this level Cristian Ganea will return to Bilbao with renewed confidence and the determination to prove himself once and for all.