Ander Capa “I Will Always Defend This Shield Until I Die”
Ander Capa is living his dream of wearing the Athletic shirt and, at some point next season, will have the opportunity to play in the Copa del Rey final. The right-back is the latest player to take part in the clubs virtual press conference and on Wednesday he spoke openly about his excitement in signing for Athletic back in 2018.
“I knew what I wanted 200 percent and didn’t think about anything else,” he said in reference to leaving Eibar for Athletic. “I didn’t want to go to any other team. From a young age my parents instilled in me the desire to belong to this club and feel all the pride in the world. It’s a family. We’re all friends and there are many emotions and feelings in being here. I will always defend this shield until I die.”
Capa, along with many others, was vocal about the importance of playing the Copa del Rey final with fans in attendance. The club has since issued a statement requesting that the historic derby be postponed and Capa fully supports the decision.
“I didn’t see any other option than playing the final with the fans, otherwise it would be very sad. La Real have a good offensive team with players like Willian José, Oyarzabal, Portu and the duel against Oyarzabal is always intense. We are eagerly anticipating the final and want to take out La Gabarra.”
Because of the choice to postpone the final UEFA will give the last European spot, reserved for the Cup champion, to whichever team finishes seventh in the La Liga table.
“The Cup final will be played with open doors and that means that UEFA will give Europe to the seventh team in the league. It’s not good for us, but we hope that when the league resumes we can obtain that European place. It’s our only option. We are focused on the league and we just want to start again because we want to get that seventh place.”
Athletic’s form in the league dropped when the Cup began, leaving the Lions five points off of the top seven at the moment. Qualifying for Europe is still possible and will require a great run in the remaining fixtures.
“It’s true that during the Cup rounds we neglected the last two months of the league a little, but now we are going to be 100% in those 11 games where many points are at stage. We focused on the Cup and now we have to focus on the league.”
The Athletic players will report to Lezama on Thursday to undergo Covid-19 testing, and Capa is eagerly looking forward to being back on the training field.
“Football is a collective sport and training alone isn’t something I like much. We’ve followed personalized plans and on occasion received calls from coaches and conditioning coaches to see how we’re doing, although there’s been no tactical talks.”
Before the football stoppage Capa was arguably the top right-back in La Liga and was being considered for a spot in Spain’s Euro 2020 squad. When asked about the possibility of making the team in 2021 the 28-year-old admitted that it would be exciting.
“You should never rule it out. Those are big words, but if it happens it would be a prize for me. The first thing I have to do is be physically well and work hard to help the team in everything possible.”
Ander Capa and Yuri Berchiche have formed one of the most dynamic fullback tandems in football in this season and will be vitally important for Athletic moving forward. As the Lions look to fight for a top seven finish, everyone will have to play at their best level for Athletic to qualify for Europe.