Xabi Etxeita begins a new professional stage. The center-back has signed for Eibar for next season with the option of a second after finishing his journey at Getafe in the First Division. In Ipurua he will have as a coach the former Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano. There is also Arbilla and Ager Aketxe has just arrived. A mini red-and-white colony. The former lion attends Mundo Deportivo from La Nucía (Alicante), where he is concentrating with the gunsmith team until this Saturday.
New stage in his career.
Yes, a new stage in my sports career. I am happy and excited, eager to face this new season in a category in which I have not competed for a few years. It is a category that I like and in which I can perform very well. Happy and excited and eager to face this season. You have to be your best physically and contribute your maximum to this team.
What has made you sign for Eibar?
Several things. First, it is a club that has always attracted me. My personality is very similar to the values that Eibar transmits. This is one of the reasons. Being able to be at home also attracts a lot and the project of trying to return to the top category is very exciting. Both the club and the coaching staff have insisted that he come here. It has always been my dream to play for Eibar. We have all agreed, both the club and the coaching staff and myself. Very happy.
Have you not had the option to sign for a First?
I have not wanted to wait. Yes there was some possibility of some other team, but I did not want to wait. After my time in the First Division and in the last year I have not been able to enjoy football much either, I wanted to come to Eibar. He gave me many things. You always want to play in the highest category, but when you have a career you value other things. My priority has been to come to Eibar.
He has Gaizka Garitano as coach in his second stage in the gunsmith team.
Yes, I did not coincide with him at Athletic, but I know him perfectly. I know your game idea. He has achieved very good results throughout his career. In fact, at Eibar he achieved two important promotions. His style and idea of play come very well to my characteristics and also to the whole team. There are the results it has achieved.
What could happen to him at Athletic?
When Gaizka was at Athletic he always seemed to me to be a very competitive and very reliable team. It was very difficult to create chances for them. The equipment was always orderly, it did not get out of order at any time. It seemed to me that defensively and tactically he was very well prepared and trained. Yes it is true that Athletic demands a lot. Although the results were not bad at any time, people are very demanding and like to see different things or changes. I think it is the law of football. I don’t know if people get bored of always seeing the same thing, but you have to value other things. The show is very important, but if you don’t get results it is difficult to move forward.
They are a kind of mini-colony of Lezama. There is also Arbilla and Ager Aketxe has just arrived.
Yes, we are quite a few. It is something that they transmitted to me from the club, that in recent years they had lost that identity of people from home, Basque people. They wanted to recover it and we can contribute in this sense to have the hallmarks of the club. I also agreed with Arbilla at Bilbao Athletic.
What is Eibar’s goal this season?
Go step by step. We know that the Second Division is super complicated, very competitive. The first thing we have to do is create a group and adapt to the system that the coach wants, which is the most important thing. We have arrived a lot of new players and there are different concepts than last year. There are many players who come from other teams. You have to create a very united and strong group to be as competitive as possible. In Segunda there is a lot of equality, it is very difficult to be at the top all year, but we are ambitious, we will try to be as high as possible. We will see how far we can go.
Do they mark the objective of the promotion to First?
I think it’s early for that. Some of the players who have arrived are contrasted, others are standing out in the Second Division and there are people with hunger, which is very important in this category. Right now we cannot say that the goal is going to be promotion because we all know how difficult the Second is. The teams that have risen in recent years have been those that had descended the previous year and had maintained the block. I still do not see Eibar with a promotion guarantee, but we will fight to be as high as possible. Now we have to set the goal of the day to day, prepare ourselves as best as possible, make a good group and get the concepts that the coach wants as soon as possible.
How did you see Athletic de Marcelino last season?
The truth is that when Marcelino arrived they were going like airplanes. We faced them there and I saw them very well. A very serious team, very compact, with a lot of confidence and they scored goals very easily. They had four or five very good games. Then the finals took their toll, both before and after, because there was a lot of illusion created in the environment. They could not have a regularity in the League, which is what they have lacked in recent years. But I think that Athletic has enough capacity to take that regularity and they can have a beautiful year.
Do you think that Athletic can opt for Europe?
He has possibilities, it is clear that it is difficult because there is a lot of equality and the teams reinforce each other very well. It will not be easy. It will depend on the success they may have in front of goal. Both in defense and in the center of the field it is a very reliable and very serious team. Then it will depend on the success above, as in all teams. Normally the teams that get a lot of points are the destabilizers at the top. I see you with possibilities. The most important thing is that they can have a regularity throughout the year to be able to be up there.
What balance do you make of your time at Getafe?
The first season was good. I arrived on the first day but they had a base made from the previous year. I didn’t join the team until the winter market when Leandro Cabrera left. In the second round I played practically everything. I was very comfortable. Last season I started playing, but after a series of defeats the coach made changes and from then on I didn’t have much participation. It is an experience that has served me well for many things.
He has managed to make an important career in football.
I don’t really like looking back. I always try to look ahead, face the day to day to continue growing as a player. The best is yet to come. I have to try to improve, aspire to important things. In this sense I am ambitious. If I look back, I see things that in life I would have imagined. I have achieved very important things in sport, I am very proud and above all satisfied with myself. It is not easy to achieve what I have achieved. That means there is a lot of work behind it. I’ve had to work a lot, but I’m still aiming for very important things. I do not like to think about what I have done, but what I can still contribute
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