Elustondo (Beasain, 1994) fulfilled a dream by winning the Cup even though he could only play six minutes. The damn ankle has brought him down the street of bitterness, but at least these days it is giving him a truce that he hopes will be final. He acknowledges that he lived the final with many nerves and that it is an honor to have finally been able to lift a title. However, the League does not give up and is confident that in the eight finals that lie ahead they can finish sealing a new European classification. Despite all the difficulties.
How do you live being a champion?
I think we are still not aware of what we have achieved. It is true that we celebrated it, that there was a great euphoria, but immediately we had to focus on the League and play against Athletic. Everything has been a bit weird. That is why I think that in the long run we are going to give it more importance than we are giving it now because this was the dream that we all had since we were little and it will always remain in our memory and it will be the bomb. For me, entering the history of the club was in my dreams.
They are not aware but he will not deny that a smile will be drawn on his face when he remembers the final …
There are times when you think about it and say: ‘The one we have bundled up. We got a title. We have been champions. ‘ But having been in this situation, having a league match so close, it makes it different. In any case it is something unforgettable.
After winning a title, and against Athletic, can you now die in peace?
(laughs) When you win a title and you see that it has been possible, you do think that you may not find yourself in one of these again in your life, but I am optimistic and I think that after winning one we can win another and we want to go to for this reason because we have a template to achieve very beautiful things.
Many generations passed through the Real before without even playing a final …
Yes, but this title would not have been possible without those other generations from whom we learned a lot and we must give credit to them because they knew how to be in difficult moments. The Cup belongs to everyone.
For me it is an honor to have achieved a title with the Real
After playing a long-awaited final like this one against Athletic, does one feel more joy or relief after winning it?
For me it is an honor to have won a title with the Real, but if I tell you the truth today I feel neither joy nor sadness because I am focused on what is coming.
Have you seen the final again?
I am one of those who likes to watch the games again, but I have not been able to see the final yet. But don’t worry, I’m going to see that final again many times.
How do you remember it?
On the bench I suffered a lot. I was very tense. We went 0-0, anything could happen, they had some approach than another … I was very nervous. Luckily I had to play for six minutes and there, however, I was very calm, although all I wanted was for the referee to whistle.
An image to keep from that day?
There are many. Many moments of joy, pride and also of sorrow because we could not celebrate it with the fans and with our families.
In the semifinals against Mirandés, Anoeta’s reception was amazing and Zubieta’s was not far behind
What would have been Seville with those two hobbies …
Well yes, what am I going to tell you. It would have been a party to see the two fans enjoying a unique match that we will see if we see it again.
A very small proof of what could have been was the departure of Zubieta. How did you experience it from the bus?
Being in the situation we are in, you appreciate it. It was amazing to be able to live that. In the semifinals against Mirandés, Anoeta’s reception was amazing and Zubieta’s was not far behind. If no one had come we would have understood it, but it is totally respectable that they came to give us that heat because, who knows if that heat could not push us to get the title.
Was it difficult to refocus on the League?
It is difficult when you win a title, but we are aware of the situation we are in to achieve our league goal, which are those European positions. Athletic also came and we knew we had to win. It could not be, but we are still in that fifth place.
Last season they also reached the final stretch with injuries. Casualties like those of Merino or Silva, do they complicate that European objective a little more?
Yes, it is clear that casualties are important. They are players who have been on their legs for many minutes and the body has told them enough for the moment. Hopefully everyone recovers as soon as possible, although it has been proven that whoever comes out can be trusted. We want to achieve the objective and even if we do not have important people, those of us, we will try to do our best.
I think we will have to do our best because Betis and Villarreal are going to fail very little
How do you see yourself compared to Betis and Villarreal?
I think it is difficult for all of us to win games because there is a lot of level. I think we will have to do our best because Betis and Villarreal are going to fail very little.
Can the Europa League take its toll on Villarreal?
Such a load of matches is likely to weigh on them. Hopefully because this way we will have the objective a little easier, although we must focus on our own.
Adding three points on Sunday against Sevilla will be difficult. They arrive fighting for the League, without relevant casualties and without having played European competition …
Playing against Sevilla is always difficult, but as always we will go for the three points. We know that we have great players in front of us, a great club but we are capable of hurting them.
A month ago almost everyone signed to win the Cup and not qualify for Europe. Now with the title in your pocket, would it be a disappointment not to qualify for a European competition?
We have been in the league for a long time in European positions. Getting the Cup was the main objective, but being in the League always in those positions, I think we have to achieve that objective because there is a team for that.
On Saturday there will be another Cup final, again at La Cartuja. I imagine their memories will rush …
Sure, but the next day we have a game, over at two o’clock and we have to be focused on Sevilla. May the best win the final.
May the best win, but better if it is Barça. Even if it is to free a European square …
You said it. If Barça wins there is one more European square. What we want is to be fifth.
Hopefully I don’t have to go under the knife because right now I feel good and I can help the team in the green. In summer we will see if I have to consider something or not
How is your ankle?
Well, the truth is that it is being somewhat difficult. I’ve had to stop a few times because I still don’t know why it was swelling. I’ve suffered a lot because I don’t like being out of the team. I was there for a long time last year and this year I wanted to remove that thorn and with the ankle issue it could not be, although the important thing is that right now I feel very well. I’m happy and totally forgotten about the ankle.
Have you ever considered going under the knife?
You never know because the second time I stopped I didn’t think the war he gave me was going to give me either. The first time, at Christmas, I recovered well, I looked like I was not going to fight and before the game against United in Turin I was inflamed and I certainly had a bad time. Then you do think that something in the ankle is not right and that you have to find a solution. Hopefully I don’t have to go under the knife because right now I feel good and I can help the team in the green. In summer we will see if I have to consider something or not.