Mikel San José And Beñat Announce They Will Finish The Season With Athletic Club
The commitment and integrity of Mikel San José and Beñat has never been questioned. For the better part of the last decade the two formed a great pairing in midfield and were among the most influential players in the team. Together, they helped lead Athletic to Europe four times and lifted the 2015 Spanish Super Cup.
Over the past two seasons San José and Beñat have taken on less prominent roles with new signings and younger players coming into the team. Coming into the current campaign both were entering the final year of their respective contracts and weren’t expected to be offered renewals.
The pandemic greatly changed things, as it did to the entirety of football. Because of the stoppage the season won’t be concluded until July but player contracts expire on 30 June. The club has ensured that keeping both San José and Beñat until the end of the season was important, but it took until today, just one day before their contracts ran out, for the issue to be resolved.
San José announced on social media in a joint statement with Beñat that both have agreed to finish the season with Athletic. The club asked both to stay with the team to be available for the final six games without pay, but did offer health insurance in case of possible injuries.
Neither was offered a renewal for next year and could have chosen to leave the club tomorrow. The statement shared frustrations with how the situation was handled, but both players ultimately decided the complete the campaign out of love and dedication to the club.
The entire statement was in Euskera as Mikel San José explained that with such a personal situation he and Beñat preferred to express themselves in their own language.
Head and heart
With these simple lines, we would like to announce that Beñat Etxebarria and Mikel San José will continue at Athletic Club until the end of the season. Although it may seem otherwise, it wasn’t an easy decision. The heart and the head manage everything in all aspects of life and based on this decisions are made, also in professional football and especially in Athletic. The head told us one thing and the heart the opposite.
On one side is the head. We are professionals and, logically, we have considered those interests, like anyone else in their profession. We already knew that after that date (30 June) we weren’t going to continue with Athletic, although it wasn’t explained to us with complete certainty, and this allowed us to end our relationship right away.
Football is like that and we understand it and we understood it, but the club offered us the possibility of ending the season. There will be time to talk about how it was, the background and the conditions. We don’t want to be an excuse for anyone.
On the other hand the heart has given us the strongest arguments. The starting point was very simple: everything we have experienced at Athletic is unrepeatable, the locker room is incredible. We are teammates but also friends and this has unbalanced the balance of the decision. We want to achieve sporting goals with the friends we have in the team, whether on or off the field, with enthusiasm and the involvement that we have always shown.
After all, we want to enjoy it until the last moment and taste the privilege of being part of a special project. Unfortunately, the only pity is not being able to do it with the fans. The plague has hit us, we have lost family and friends, and with that we have emptied the soul of football because without contact with the fans it’s not the same thing, nor when it comes to saying goodbye to Athletic, but we will hold on. Aupa Athletic eta mile esker!
— Mikel San José (@mikelsanjo6) June 29, 2020