Óscar De Marcos “It’s An Exciting Season With All The Objectives Ahead”
Last year didn’t go the way that Óscar de Marcos had hoped. After a strong start the right-back was forced to undergo ankle surgery that sidelined him for months. If not for the pandemic putting the La Liga season on hold, De Marcos would have missed the remainder of the competition.
Going into the last year of his contract, De Marcos is eager to prove that he can continue playing at a high level for Athletic. The 31-year-old is confident that he can still help the team.
“It seems incredible that so much time has passed,” De Marcos told Radio Bilbao. “I have one year left on my contract. My goal is to try to do well and if I can continue I want it to be on merit, not because the club wants to give me another year if I can’t contribute. The club has given me a lot and now I have to contribute. If you compare me with Aduriz I still have eight years of my career left.”
Now fully healthy De Marcos hopes to avoid any serious injuries in the season ahead. “I spent many years without having any injuries and now I’ve had a few,” he added. “The ankle has been bothering me for three years, although it seems that it’s better now.” The ongoing pandemic also presents an issue for the entire squad.
“Weeks go by and every time we get a PCR test you always have that question because you don’t know where it is or how you could get it. Anyone in your environment can have it. When they told us that there were six that tested positive, that they could be out for three weeks, you think about the risk. It’s a disease that has caused many people to suffer and I try to be cautious, but it’s difficult because anyone can catch it.”
With players testing positive to start summer training and such a short window to prepare, things have been far from normal. “It’s been an atypical preseason because there are many players missing from the first team, although several have started training. You have to get in shape as quickly as possible.”
La Liga will officially return next weekend with Athletic set to visit Granada on Friday night in the opening fixture. Unfortunately, fans still won’t be allowed inside the stadiums.
“The fans are very necessary because we all know the points that San Mamés gives us. Last season we finished without them and it cost us a lot. We have to adapt because we know that it will still be like this for a time. Unfortunately it won’t be just a few weeks as we assumed.”
Regardless of the complications, De Marcos is eager to play in four competitions this year. “It’s an exciting season with all the objectives ahead,” he said. “It’s very important to start well in the league to put those points in the backpack. Playing the Cup or the Super Cup without ease in the league makes it more difficult.”
On Saturday the Lions played their first friendly of the summer in what turned out to be a 3-1 loss to Logroñés. Much has been made of the result, but De Marcos isn’t concerned.
“The result tarnishes the first friendly, but it’s not a fair assessment. It was a moment of learning. Now is the time to fail and correct mistakes if there are bad things. It’s better that it happens now than later.”
For the first time in years Athletic will start the season without Aritz Aduriz. The legendary striker retired earlier this year due to a hip injury and De Marcos says his absence will certainly be felt.
“It’s a very big loss for us in the dressing room. Well, Beñat and San José are of the same coin. We all know what Aduriz has been on a sporting level. He has given us a lot. We all want to be Aduriz, to give our club the maximum, but only some do it.”
In closing, De Marcos was asked about the future of Iago Herrerín who has asked to leave the club this summer. “Everyone has their own situation and I respect all of them,” De Marcos responded. “He wasn’t comfortable, he wasn’t having a good time, and he wasn’t excited. I wish him the best as a teammate and the friend that he’s been these years.”
Now entering his 12th season with Athletic, Óscar De Marcos has become one of the leaders at the club both on and off the field. This could very well turn out to be his final year at San Mamés and, if so, he has every intention of giving everything for the Athletic shield and hopes to lift the Copa del Rey title.