Yeray “I See Us Fighting For Europe Until The Very End”
Yeray has become one of the best center-backs in all of La Liga since debuting with the first team in 2016. The Lezama product, known for his exceptional tackling and positioning, has even started to become a leader at Athletic and wears the shirt with pride. Although things have been difficult for the team over the past few years, Yeray is confident that the Lions have what it takes to finish in the top seven and qualify for Europe.
“The break came at a bad time,” he told Iñaki Ugalde of Mundo Deportivo. “We had a streak of games without losing and had just won the knockout game against Granada. We were on the way to the Cup final. I don’t know what will happen, but I surely see us fighting for Europe until the very end.”
Manager Gaizka Garitano has used different formations throughout the season, sometimes using four defenders and more recently playing with five at the back. Either way, Yeray is comfortable and believes the team can have success.
“It depends. With a defense of five you have to go out a little more with the ball and with a defense of four you have more freedom in that regard. When the opponent attacks you are much more protected. There’s good and bad with both.”
When Yeray was promoted to the first team he originally wore the number 27 shirt, but now being able to wear the number 5 shirt is a source of pride.
“Center-backs usually wear 4 or 5 and I have always liked 5 because Puyol wore it and so did great Athletic defenders. At first I chose 27 because there were several dates in my life that coincide with that number and I even got it tattooed. I’ve always related the 5 to a center-back and I like wearing it.”
Apart of team success, Yeray is still looking for his first goal with Athletic. “This year I was getting closer to scoring, it will come,” says the 25-year-old. In the end, Yeray is just ready to be back on the field playing football and hopes to help the team qualify for Europe in the remaining 11 games this season.