He was a starter in the last Cup final won by Athletic. Andoni Goikoetxea considers that the rojiblanco team also has its options to knock down Barça tomorrow at La Cartuja in Seville. The now ambassador of the Bilbao club refers to the last Super Cup to base his confidence in the lions. As a prognosis, yes, he resorts to a phrase used by Menotti three decades ago. Curious.
How is the atmosphere at Athletic?
Well, I do not know. In my environment, at least, with enthusiasm and hope. I think Barcelona is one of the greats in the world, it has the best player in the world and they are all international. But I’m excited because Athletic knows what it’s like to beat Barça in the Super Cup, in the League, in qualifying for the semi-final of last year’s Cup …
Not everyone in Bilbao seems to think the same.
Athletic is capable of beating Barça, I insist. We all know that it is complicated, that it is difficult. You have to play it, you have to be excited. The pity is that they are going to play the final a thousand kilometers from Bizkaia and that the fans will have to stay at home. The stadium will continue to be empty, which is one of the sadnesses of what has been affecting us for more than a year.
Do you see Athletic, I insist, with the same enthusiasm as before the final against Real?
I do not know. I am not in Lezama because he cannot go, but what my thoughts convey to me is that the final against Real last season could not be won, but there is another opportunity. In theory more complicated, but Athletic has to regain that confidence, security and enthusiasm to achieve what was achieved a long time ago.
To take out the barge, you mean?
The issue of the barge or not the barge is the least, the important thing is to write another page of the history of this club in gold letters. The players have to be aware that a title is something very important for the member, the fans, the young people, the less young people.
For you, therefore, is the Super Cup final worth a reference?
Sure. It is a recent reference. It was a difficult game, a game in which Buffalo scored the tying goal (2-2) almost in 90 minutes, gave a chance and Williams scored (2-3) in extra time. The team already knows what it is to suffer against a team that has clear, very clear game characteristics. He always looks for the touch of quality, a certain foul on the edge of the area, they look for the genius of Messi or Griezmann himself, Dembèlè … Never surprising in speed, in counterattack. Always based on the quality of all these people and the rest of the team.
Is it good for Athletic that Barça want the ball?
It is what suits you best. A team with the defense very advanced because they play ten against ten in all actions, they leave a lot of space behind their back and that is where Athletic has to take advantage of the fast exit, very vertical and with its fast players trying to take advantage of those situations.
How did the final against Real leave you?
It left us all cold because more could have been done. It was not a brilliant match. La Real knew how to profit from a penalty in a rare situation and then they managed well. In the second part we did not create chances, we did not arrive fluently.
You are right. Sure it was.
It is not the first for Athletic in a final. You won the ’84 Cup and lost ’85, but a lot happened against Atlético …
The 85 we were there. It was lost, but we competed before the last second.
That’s where I wanted to go. Is that Athletic, despite having played four more, has not returned to compete in a Cup final.
I do not know. I remember the one in Romania, Valencia, Madrid … It’s not that we didn’t compete, it’s that they beat us and they beat us well. What is behind, behind remains. We have to look at the immediate future and the immediate future is Barça, which is where we have to look at ourselves.