Óscar De Marcos “We’re Ready To Start Again Strong”
The Athletic first team is gearing up for the return of La Liga with what will be a relatively healthy squad. Aside from Iñigo Lekue, who suffered an ankle sprain in training last week, the rest of the players were able to recover from various injuries during the time off. Óscar De Marcos is especially looking forward to getting back on the field after undergoing ankle surgery in December and spoke with Athletic TV about his excitement.
“This time has been good for me in a sports sense because without it I would have missed all but the last three games. We’ve had the unfortunate pandemic and now we will have a larger squad available. Because of the information they have given us, everyone is doing very well physically. We’re in the last part of the league and ready to start again strong. Due to the dynamics, it feels as though we were about to start the beginning of the competition.”
Naturally, the players are happy to be back in training and were recently allowed to start working in groups of 14. “We are being very careful with tests and everything else,” said De Marcos. “We want to take the least risk possible with health. In our professional it’s very easy to spread sickness because we don’t wear masks and we are always touching each other. That’s risky.”
De Marcos also took a moment to reflect on the retirement of his teammate and good friend Aritz Aduriz. The club legend was forced to hang up his boots due to a hip injury and De Marcos said he will be greatly missed.
“The farewell was very close to who he is, within the possibilities that we have now. We have said that he’s a living legend, he still is, and it’s sad because I have shared many experiences with him. He’s been a reference, a teacher to many and has made us all much better. Although he said he was happy, it was a sad day because he’s a person we love very much and always want to have by our side. Sometimes you want to kill him because of how competitive he is. He irritates you, but he has made us all better players.”
Similarly, Beñat and Mikel San José will also be leaving Athletic when their contracts expire at the end of the season. “They have been told where the intentions are going,” explained De Marcos. “They are both professionals and they are training that way. They are my friends. Hopefully it will be the best for them and for the club.”
In closing, the 31-year-old was asked about manager Gaizka Garitano who will soon be signing a new contract with the club. As expected, De Marcos says that a renewal is fully deserved.
“The data speaks for itself. He took over when we were in a delicate situation and we were one game away from getting into Europe. We’re in the Cup final and have the option of going to the Europa League. There is little else that needs to be added to all that data.”
In a way, the football stoppage and preseason-like return to training will give teams and managers the opportunity to start from scratch. Before his ankle injury De Marcos was a regular in the starting lineup and could do so again when matches resume. Either way, Óscar De Marcos is fully healthy again and ready to contribute to the team.