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Athletic Bilbao - Los Leones Rugientes

Read how Quique Flores battles with the Basque ruling in his endeavor to take Bilbao to new heights!
Started on 16 December 2014 by Zap
Latest Reply on 8 October 2015 by InvertedWingbacks
Zap's avatar Group Zap
7 yearsEdited


Athletic Bilbao have been sent tumbling out of the Copa Del Rey after two disappointing, and some may say borderline embarrassing defeats against rivals Real Sociedad. Bilbao, who are much higher in the league table than their opponents, were favourites to go through. However they never looked liked doing so in either of the two legs, only hitting the net once and conceding five.


Athletic lined up at Anoeta for the second time in two months as the they prepared their push towards the next round of the Copa Del Rey. Last time they visited San Sebastian they managed to grab a comfortable 2-0 victory, but this time it was to be a very different game. From the start it was clear to see that Sociedad were out for revenge when veteran midfielder Xabi Prieto almost got them off to a flyer as he came close with a well hit shot from just inside the box, however Kepa Arizzabalaga managed to just about scramble it away. Sociedad were on top throughout the first-half and it was incredible that Athletic managed to hold on until half-time. In the second-half the home team came at Bilbao as they did in the first and it wasn't long until they were in the lead. Number 9, Imanol Agirretxe, fired home a powerful header after he was left completely unmarked at a corner. It is fair to say that Athletic's defence weren't at their best this game as another chance came Sociedad's way as Agirretxe was again unmarked at a corner, but this time his header zoomed past the post. Soon after, however, Sociedad doubled their lead as Xabi Prieto found himself in plenty of space as defenders stood off him. He unleashed a long-shot which looped into the air and curled into the far corner leaving Kepa with no chance of stopping it. The scoring was completely, as it was started, with an Agirretxe header. This time he was marked, however it was by Carlos Gurpegi who barely jumped to head the ball away. All Agirretxe had to do was lean over and knock it in with his head. Poor defending all round by Bilbao cost them big time and it would have took a big win back at home to get them through.


A big win was what Athletic needed, however they could not even muster up a small win. Despite coming out strong in the first-half, Flores' men couldn't capitalise and the closest they came was when Muniain was brought down just outside the box. The resulting free-kick was curled around the wall by Benat, however the ball just couldn't curl enough and it slammed into the side-netting. Sociedad were lucky to not have conceded during the first-half, contrast to the first leg, however they were far superior in the second. Xabi Prieto bagged their first on the hour mark as a header from a corner was initially saved by Arizzabalaga, however it was palmed straight into the path of Prieto who knocked it out of the reach of the young keeper and into the back of the net. Soon the 31 year-old had two to his name, a beautiful passing move by Sociedad found it's way to Prieto inside the box and he passed it round Kepa and into the net to seal the game and the round. Oscar De Marcos managed to weave his way into the opposition area before being tugged down to grab his team a late penalty. Andoni Iraola stepped up and slotted the ball into the top left to give Athletic a consolition goal, but Ander Itturaspe managed to complete what had been an awful round for Bilbao as a push and then a two-footed tackle on David Zurutuza earned him a straight red. After the game Quique Flores apologised to the fans for his sides 'Disgraceful' performances and said that the Itturaspe sending off was 'Idiotic' and that he and the club would be dealing with it severely.

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Disappointing defeats I expect better from you. Good to see one of my banner actually being used though ;)
Zap's avatar Group Zap
7 yearsEdited


Athletic have today announced that young center-back Aymeric Laporte has put pen to paper on a new contract that will see the Frenchman set for another five years at the Basque Club

Aymeric Laporte has been touted as one of the best young center-back talents in the world and fans of Athletic will be delighted to see that he has committed the foreseeable future to their club. The contract, rumoured to pay out around £50,000 a week, includes loyalty bonuses and a lofty £62,000,000 release clause and has been handed to the 20 year-old after he had proved himself to be the heart of Quique Flores' defence.

So far this season Laporte has only missed three of Athletic's league games and has been one of their top performers, winning five man of the match awards. Fans and staff will be hoping that the youngster can continue to play well and develop into a club legend. Some are already saying that he can become one of the best defenders in the world.

Quique Flores, however, only wants to see commitment from his defender. Speaking at a press conference he spoke of how too much pressure may sink the young Frenchman. "I am delighted to announce the deal, but people need to stop putting all this pressure on him." Quique opened calmly. "He is a fantastic player but I just want to see him play decent football. People need to remember that, despite of how important he is to us, he is only twenty and still has a lot to learn."

Aymeric Laporte looks for a pass out of defence during an Under-21 game for France.

Quique Flores has proved once again that he is dedicated to young players. In the summer transfer window he brought in two young prospects as well as opening a space in the team for young keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga who has impressed in nine appearances so far this season. We can expect more contracts to be handed out to young talent over the course of the year.
Aymeric Laporte started his career in the French Championnat National league with Bayonne before moving to Bilbao in 2010, since then he has made 33 appearances with Baskonia, 8 appearances with Bilbao Ath. and 53 appearances for the full Athletic team. On the national front he has 1 cap for the full French senior team and 3 for the Under-21 side.

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Tallery: I am disgusted with myself to be quite honest and how can I not use the banner. It would be voted FHM's sexiest banner if there was such a vote.
Great story I only just discovered but I enjoyed It so much that I read through to your latest update in one session of reading. :)
A tough loss to take mate but at least you have some good news with Laporte.
TheChampi0nFM: Thanks for giving it a read! :)
Walkinshaw: Laporte news is great but I can't be excused for the two defeats.
Very good idea, Laporte is key to your future successes!
Well you might aswell renew his contract, not like you have many other options since you can only sign Basque players! lol.

Very professional updates from you btw ;) surprisingly.


Athletic have carried on their decent form in the league through the turn of the year, despite two defeats to bitter rivals Sociedad in the Copa del Rey. With no defeats and 8 points already in the bag they will be hoping that this form can act as a platform for them to improve upon.


Bilbao started the new year as they ended the last as they continued their winning streak with a comfortable victory over Deportivo. Athletic looked to have control of the game from the start as a few good chances fell their way in the opening exchanges. In the 25th minute the goal scoring was opened when Ander Iturraspe found Iker Muniain lurking around the penalty area. The winger then found a spot in the near bottom corner and sliced the ball past two defenders and the keeper and into the net. Athletic continued to dominate the game and just before half-time Deportivo's task went from 'Very Hard' to 'Near Impossible' when Alex Bergantinos saw red after a very late tackle on Markel Susaeta. After half-time Bilbao pulled their foot off the gas ever so slightly, however on the hour mark the scoring was completed with Oscar De Marcos tapping the ball into the near post from a Benat corner.


After their dissapointing first leg defeat to Sociedad, Bilbao returned to San Mames with a point to prove and fans to apologies to. This led to an expected win against bottom-of-the-league Elche. Oscar De Marcos opened up the scoring within the first 5 minutes after a scramble in the box lead to the ball landing at his feet and he curled the ball around the keeper and into the back of the net. One up and expecting a comfortable win Bilbao sat back and held the ball for the majority of the game so it was no surprise that there was no real action until late on in the game. Andoni Iraola made a galloping run in the opposition third and found Benat waiting patiently in the middle of the park. After a nice pass laid off by the full-back found itself rolling towards the Benat, the midfielder leaned back and powered the ball as hard as he could into the top corner and the ball sliced into the net, almost ripping it open on impact. Sadly the game would end with complacency at the back handing Elche a goal through Alvaro Gimenez, however it was too late for them to make a last-gasp miracle comeback.


In one of the biggest games of the season so far, Athletic faced fellow Champions League spot contenders in Villareal. Much was expected from this tight affair, however there was just a lot of sparring as the two high-flying teams aimed to out-pass each other. Villareal found the break first when Cheryshev broke into the Bilbao box and floated a cross towards Hernan Perez, who was completely un-marked, and who comfortably placed it past Gorka Iraizoz. A lot of passes later and it was half-time. In the second half the reds came out with a little bit more incentive as they tried to bring a goal back. They achieved this just 5 minutes after the break when Muniain took the ball from the wing, past 3 defenders, and sliced it into the near post to score a wonderful solo goal. The rest of the game panned out with the ball mainly in the center of the park and both teams were left wondering what would have happened if they gave that little bit extra.


Another draw saw Bilbao their first month of 2015 unbeaten, however a goalless draw against Malaga was not the result that most fans would have wanted especially after giving them a 4-0 drubbing away on the first game of the season. This game followed almost the same pattern as the Villareal game, however it was Bilbao with all the ball. Despite their constant ball keep, they didn't attack as they could and did not create many opportunities in the opposition half. This disappointed the fans as both keepers left the field at full-time with clean kits.


(GP) Name: Pts - GD
1. (21) BARCELONA: 52 - +52
2. (20) VILLAREAL: 43 - +16
3. (18) R MADRID: 42 - +29
4. (19) ATHLETIC: 39 - +13
5. (20) ATLETICO: 38 - +15
6. (21) VALENCIA: 36 - +12
7. (21) GRANADA: 30 - +3


Iker Muniain has been a star cutting inside from the left this month. His solo goal against Villareal was as good as any and his one against Deportivo wasn't too shabby either. He has been a very important part of the team so far this season and was the stand-out player this month.
4th is good; and with Laporte signing on for longer, i'm sure you can kick on and really make something of this season. Really good updates too man, keep it up!
You graphics get better and better lil' zep, I love the light grays that fade the lower the table you go... Touch of genius there.

Oh and, good season so far too :P
Zap's avatar Group Zap
7 yearsEdited
Tallery: Laporte is a massive part to my future plans.
Sacuri: Thanks. And ye, the Basque rule is a bit of a prick...
InfraRed: I really hope that I can kick on and thanks!!
Sacuri II: I am a genius yes, thank you.

Hey Guys, thank you for sticking with me and supporting my story despite the lack of updates. As I have said before I have not got as much time to update, but the fire, passion and motivation to do so still remains. I would like to thank the Story of the Month judges for a nomination and everyone who voted for me. I did not once think I would even be consider due to my lack of content and was pleasently surprised at seeing my story up there.

The Pozzo Connection

As I hope a lot of you have noticed, I have been announced as part of a trio an a brand new story. I will be taking on the role of Granada Head Coach and will be working with 2 excellent and fellow FMScory writers AlexTHFC (Watford) and Icarus (Udinese) as we attempt to help the Pozzo family, who own all three clubs, to total football dominance on a network game. I hope you will all enjoy that story as much, maybe even more so, than this. Bilbao updates will not be effected by the new story and I hope the second story brings even more motivation to update this aswell as new ideas that I can bring to this.

The Pozzo Connection - Please take a look and drop a comment!


Athletic's form so far in 2015 has been stable and they carried on their decent start to the new year with two wins out of four in the lead-up to a massive Champions League fixture away at Liverpool. The attackers for Bilbao have been strutting their stuff nicely so far, with 10 goals being scored in the games leading up to Anfield.


The transition into the second month started with a draw away at a Levante team that are pushing to try and steal a place in Europe. Fans will be slightly dissapointed in a draw when a victory could of seen them drift 4 points ahead of Atletico in fifth, however it was not to be. Levante opened the scoring early on when midfielder Oscar (not that one, the Spanish one) opened space to curl a ball past an outstretched Kepa. Aritz Aduriz then bounced a well whipped corner of his big head and the ball looped over the keeper and powered into the other side of the net. The rest of the game was quite dull with Athletic doing what they do best, keeping the ball but not really doing much with it and Levante trying to get it. Athletic almost managed to grab a winner late-on when Benat struck a free-kick wonderfully and left the goalkeeper rooted, however it just skimmed across the bar.


This match was certainly not as dull. Athletic went all out in this one. Low-lying Cordoba came to San Mames devoid of confidence and the Bilbao lads turned them over with style. Iker Muniain got the ball rolling in the 20th minute when a through-ball was laid through the defence into him. He took one touch round the keeper and knocked it into an empty net, easy as you like. Cordoba then manged to scramble an equaliser from a corner and nobody expected it, not least the Bilbao players who had been dominating. The end result may have been different if the lads didn't manage to get themselves quickly back together and Ibai Gomez knocked them back into the lead just before half-time. During half-time Quique Flores took Aritz Aduriz off after he ended up limping back to the changing room. Borja Viguera took his place and instantly made his mark when he tapped home an easy goal after a shocking parry by the Cordoba keeper left the ball creeping towards him, begging to be put into the net. Andoni Iroala made it four from the penatly spot after Muniain was hauled down inside the box, the right-back calmly slotted it to the bottom right and the keeper dived completely the wrong way. The scoring was completed with a thunderbolt from Mikel Rico. A corner was cleared sloppily by a Cordoba defender straight into the path of Rico who smoothly thwacked it into the top corner.


Bilbao actually turned up for this game. Lionel Messi also showed up. Benat's free-kick early in the game gave Athletic the lead and a false sense of hope heading into a show that would only show them as the fools to a completely and utterly stupendous legend. Lionel Messi got his first when he took on Laporte and slotted the ball under Gorka, and you can't help feeling sorry for him as he walked blindly into the slaughterhouse. Messi made it two when he cut in from the left, drove past Laporte, megged Gurpegi and lofted the ball over Gorka and into the net. This was just the start. After half-time Barcelona passed the ball around Athletic like they were a Segunda side and Messi bagged his hat-trick after Neymar slotted the ball past Gurpegi and into the path of the magic Argentinian, who powered the ball into the near post. Not being content with 3, the wonderful bastard grabbed his fourth when Gurpegi stumbled on the ball and gave it straight to Iniesta. The spaniard lofted a ball over the recovering captain and into Messi who curled a volley around Gorka and into the net. If you want a display on how a perfect footballer should be...


Athletic used the experience they gained against the best to drift past Granada in a one-sided match. Winning their last game before their Anfield trip was the best thing they could have hoped for and Andoni Iraola powered them onto that path with, would you believe, a penalty. Iraola never looked like he was going to miss as he walked up and placed the ball on the spot and, of course, he never. Smashing it into the top of the net and smashing his side into the lead. It took until well after half-time until Athletic could get their second, sitting back and comfortably dealing with Granada attacks. Ibai Gomez grabbed that second when Oscar de Marcos found a ball into him and he twatted the ball past the keeper and into the back post, thankfully the post was kind and sent the ball tumbling into the back of the net. Borja Viguera, playing as Quique rested Aduriz hoping he would be fit for the Champions League tie, grabbed the final goal with a placed header low and out of the reach of the keeper after a cross from Ibai Gomez was beautifully placed into the box.


(GP) Name: Pts - GD
1. (24) Barcelona: 61 +60
2. (23) Villareal: 50 +20
3. (22) ATHLETIC: 45 +17
4. (20) R Madrid: 43 +28
5. (22) Atletico: 42 +16
6. (23) Valencia: 40 +13

7. (23) Granada: 31 +0

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