Rafa Alkorta “Unai Simón’s Commitment To Athletic Is Outstanding”
Unai Simón will never forget 20 August. It’s the day he made his first team debut back in 2018 and today, exactly two years later, the goalkeeper was called up to the Spain National Team for the first time. Even more importantly, just hours after being included in the Spain squad Simón signed a historic contract renewal to guarantee his future with Athletic.
Earlier today Athletic announced that Simón had inked a new deal which runs through 2025 and doesn’t contain a release clause. The 23-year-old became the 6th player in the Athletic squad to decline a release clause, making a massive statement that he has no intentions of leaving his boyhood club.
“I’ve been here since I was 14 years old, since I was a Cadete,” Simón said while speaking with AthleticTV after signing his renewal. “Being here until 2025 is a dream for me. I’m proud of the trust that the club has placed in me. It’s a complete day because it coincides with the anniversary of my debut and the call of Luis Enrique. It’s a beautiful and very special day.”
Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta led the contract negotiations and was rightfully pleased with the outcome. “I think it’s a day for everyone to be happy,” said Alkorta. “He’s a boy that has grown a lot with us and wants to continue growing. This is great news for all of us and we have a top goalkeeper in Europe for many years.”
Negotiations were relatively straightforward as Simón had no desire to leave the club. In fact, Simón’s dedication to Athletic made it even easier for both sides to reach an agreement quickly.
“Unai Simón’s commitment to Athletic is outstanding, it cost us nothing to reach an agreement. We had been talking for a long time, not too long because both parties were clear about what we wanted, and we know that he wanted to continue with us. It’s true that today he’s also become an international player, which I think gives double happiness.
President Aitor Elizegi also praised the renewal as a symbol for other young players and a wonderful way to start the new season. There was never any doubts over Simón’s dedication to the club.
“We started the 2020/2021 by shielding a reference. It’s an important step that coincides with Luis Enrique’s call, but also shows the commitment and, of course, Lezama’s work and effort. It’s a great day for the Athletic goal and enormous for this club. When the two parties were at the table, from the first minute it was clear that Athletic and Unai Simón wanted to be together for many seasons. It wasn’t only easy, but also a message for everyone.”
With Unai Simón’s future sorted, the club will now turn their attention to renewals for Raúl García and Ander Capa. Both players were in contract negotiations before the pandemic and have expressed their desire to stay at San Mamés. Like Simón, Raúl García also has a contract without a release clause and will likely decline one again in his new deal.