Aritz Illustondo expects Real Sociedad to win its third victory in three rounds of the Europa League today And he took another step in achieving his goal of achieving first place in the group, after the big victory at Old Trafford. One of Beasain is already the second oldest in the locker room, despite being 28 years old, behind only Asier Illarramendi.
I ask. Girona’s win is the best way to start that 13-game streak in just 43 days…
Answer. Of course it is important to return to the competition with a win and start this stage of the calendar with three points. Now we go for another three, this time in Europe.
Being the only two defensive players available doesn’t make me hit the brakes, Emmanol likes to train hard every day
P. They made it to this important section of the course without Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea, Sadiq, Le Normand and Zubeldia, and with Carlos Fernandez off a long point. It does not appear to be the best case.
R. Obviously we would like to all be available all season, but that is practically impossible, because of the intensity with which we play and train. Every year there are times when there are more injuries and now we have this situation that we don’t like. I hope we get the players back and no one else gets hurt.
P. Without Le Normand and Zubeldia, you and Pacheco remain the only central defenders. Does it affect and put one less foot in training?
R. It’s true that Robben and Igor’s goal leaves the team’s central area a bit stiff, but hopefully they’ll be back soon. But you don’t have to think about applying the handbrake anytime, what the coach likes is that we train hard every day of the week, so one doesn’t think about training softer because there are injuries in his position.
We were looking forward to Oyarzabal training with the group again, his injury was one of the worst moments I can remember
P. You talk about Le Normand returning after a month’s rest. After more than six, Oyarzabal is already training with the group. Joy in the locker room, right?
R. I think it’s something we’ve been looking forward to! It is true that you have to go little by little, but seeing him on the field will be one of the best news, for all that Mikel points out. His injury was one of the worst moments I can remember in this team and having him with us will be a sign that he is close to returning to the pitch, hopefully sooner rather than later.
P. Let’s talk about you, the 28-year-old is one of the “olders” in the locker room …
R. It’s something that seems strange to me, because I’m 28 years old as one of the oldest people in the locker room. When I arrived, I had a lot of very seasoned people, over 30 years old, and now there are only two people above that number and I am the fourth oldest, but I am very happy with the good vibes we all have.
I am happy that I played more than 200 matches with Real. It seems strange to me to be a locker room veteran with only 28 years
P. In December, it will be eight years since you debuted, but only Illarramendi beats you in this aspect.
R. The truth is that the years have passed and I am very happy with it, to continue at Real, and I hope I can add more. Over 200 games? Before that I found it exciting, but I’m not the type to add and add, but I prefer to have fun every day and help the team as much as I can.
P. In order for this desire to last for many years, you will have to renew your contract until 2024, which is approaching …
R. I’m very calm, you all know my idea is to be able to continue here for many more years, and when the day comes to sit down and talk about it, I’ll be happy. But now I don’t even think about it, just enjoy the present, and keep playing as many games as possible.
P. In this course, she played eight matches out of nine. Good start, right?
A: I am happy. Even though I didn’t start in some matches, the coach relied on me for almost all the matches and I told you last time that my goal is to always be available. We all try to train as well as possible and the master puts us in eleven. Every year I’m there there’s been a competition, now with Robben, Igor and Pacheco, and what I’m telling you now, the important thing is to always be ready to play.
We have examples of teams that do not seem important and difficult to us, so we must play very well and focus on defeating Al-Sharif.
P. In this European League I played the first two days, I imagine the match at Old Trafford was one of those that consolidate, for the ultimate success.
R. I think we had a great game, he knew how to be good with and without the ball, 0-1 was the best way to start the league. Then came the win over Omonia and now we go to Moldova to add nine out of nine. We want to try first in the group.
Q: Isn’t the Sharif’s victory a stumbling block?
A: I think there are clear examples of teams that still don’t seem very important in Europe, in terms of championships, but that made it very difficult for us, a few weeks ago against Omonia we already saw how complicated the game was for us. To win you have to do things well and that should be the goal, to be very focused, go into the game for 90 minutes, and come back with the three points.
P. You already told me that the obvious goal, today, is to play on the last day against United at Anoeta to retain the top spot, right?
R. As long as we have the choice, that’s what we’re looking for. We served that goal well, but we can’t fail and we have to try to get the three points in the next few games to play at the top with United on the last day, with our fans.