Gaizka Larrazabal “A Final Without Fans Is Not A Final”
This season has been all about learning for Athletic winger Gaizka Larrazabal. After being promoted following two impressive years with Bilbao Athletic, the 22-year-old has made ten appearances for the first team and is eager to earn a more prominent role in Gaizka Garitano’s squad. Speaking with Oye Cómo Va on Radio Popular, Larrazabal shared that he has a great relationship with the manager.
“I was fortunate to work with Gaizka for almost two years at Bilbao Athletic. He knows me and I know him. We have a good relationship. I’m open to corrections, to him telling me what I have to do to become a better footballer.”
Although he hasn’t enjoyed regular minutes this season, the winger could have more chances if the season returns. Games will be played closer together in other to complete the campaign which will require managers to rotate lineups more often than normal.
“A lot can happen. The league may resume and more rotations could be needed so that would give me the chance to have more minutes. It’s my first year and nobody said this was going to be easy. You always have to be a little selfish and believe that you can earn more minutes, but the coach has done what he believes is best. I’ve been learning so that I will be ready for when I have to play.”
The players have publicly defended the stance of postponing the Copa del Rey final until fans can attend and on Monday the club announced the same decision. When asked about the ultimatum Larrazabal made it clear that he wanted to wait and share the historic match with supporters.
“It’s something we have waited a long time for. We wanted the final to arrive with such eagerness and now we have to wait. A final without fans is not a final. Half of Athletic are our fans and they deserve to be there just as much as we do. The final has to be played with the fans of both teams and La Real think the same. I can’t imagine a final without an audience.”
The Spanish Football Federation has since accepted the request from Athletic and Real Sociedad, while also pointing out that this final must be held before the 2020/2021 final. If the La Liga season does return it must do so with games played behind closed doors, but the two Basque rivals will wait until the stands can be safely filled for what will be one of the biggest matches in history.