Gorka Santamaría Looking Forward To Facing Former Team Bilbao Athletic In Promotional Playoffs
Gorka Santamaría spent his entire childhood at Lezama and, like other young boys from Bilbao, dreamed of one day reaching the first team. The striker would eventually join Bilbao Athletic in 2014 where he helped lead the Kumeak to promotion. Unfortunately, he was never able to progress further and would leave the club in 2017 after spending the previous season on loan with Cádiz.
Now, the 24-year-old is preparing to face his former club. Bilbao Athletic and Badajoz were drawn against one another for the first round of the promotional playoffs with the match scheduled for 18 July at Nuevo Mirador de Algeciras.
“I had a hunch that we would play Bilbao Athletic and I’m happy because it’s my former team, the club of my life,” Santamaría said in an interview on Badajoz social media. “I’m very happy about it.”
It’s been three years since Santamaría left Athletic, but he still has very close relationships at the club. “Some former teammates have called me, I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages,” he said. “My stomach is slightly stirred from the idea of meeting friends and former teammates again. I’m really want the day to come.”
Looking at the game itself, Santamaría shared that Bilbao Athletic will be difficult opponents. Joseba Etxeberria’s side have been one of the best attacking teams in all of Segunda B and have the quality to earn promotion.
“It will be a very complicated tie, highly contested. Bilbao Athletic handle attacking transitions and counter attacks very well. They understand the rhythm of matches and are well balanced. Some of their players train with the first team, but they don’t participate in the matches except for Sancet, so the others will arrive with the same pace as the rest.”
Gorka Santamaría was an integral part of the Bilbao Athletic team which earned promotion for the first time in nearly 20 years. Next month, he will try to do the same with Badajoz and stands in the way of his former club.