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Athletic Bilbao: Basque-ing in Glory

Started on 18 July 2013 by Verdinho
Latest Reply on 4 September 2013 by Rablador
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By Pablito Miranda

Oceano Cruz has already become an unpopular choice for Athletic Bilbao fans after being announced their new manager just last week.

The Portuguese man is yet to say a word about his new job with his official unveiling scheduled for next week but fans have immediately dismissed his credentials.

His appointment has come as a huge shock more notably for his almost non-existent experience. Oceano has only worked with minuscule jobs of which nothing has been achieved.

Secondly, Oceano knows very little about Basque players and how to develop them like Bielsa and Valverde have done in the past. A decision which has left many fans angered.

“How does a guy who knows nothing about Basque football get given the job over Valverde who has played, managed and grown within our ambient?” said a fan.

“The guy may well be talented but this is a move that’s destined to go wrong. He is inexperienced and we go and give him a job he may not even understand the importance of.”

Is it possible for guy with such small managerial experience to fully embrace the importance that is being Basque?

Coming from Portugal, Oceano’s football is bound to be rigid and tasteless just as we have seen with Jose Mourinho and Jesualdo Ferreira in their time in La Liga.

Nobody wants to see the quality of football lower and I for one will be curious to see just how Bilbao’s players will react when Oceano begins to pull the wrong strings.

To make matters worse for Bilbao fans, Oceano was once a hero on the other side of Pamplona for Real Sociedad. Just how much support will a former rival get when the going gets tough?

Oceano also cannot speak Spanish fluently, despite playing for Real Sociedad for three seasons.

The more thought you give; the more Oceano’s appointment seems like an abomination and one we send Bilbao fans our deep condolences to.
Loving the story and writing! Great to add a side-story too. :D


New Athletic Bilbao boss Oceano Cruz has told fans he is “the right man for the job” following intense criticism over his appointment.

The Spanish media has been hot on Oceano’s heels soon after his arrival but the 50 year old is confident he’ll change the opinion of many.

“As unfair as it has been to me, I can understand where the criticism comes from. However, I thank Josu Urrutia and the rest of the board for the opportunity and I plan on repaying them as soon as possible.

“Sure I’m inexperienced and my Spanish is basic but I believe in myself and I’m confident I can do a good job.

“Furthermore, I worked with Sporting’s youth development for many years and have seen the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Simao & Nani all grow into stars. I definitely know a thing or two about nurturing young players and the importance of it.

“All I ask from fans is to support the players as expected and the results will come. This is all I have to say on this matter and I’ll let the results do the talking.”

Having dodged various other questions from the media, Oceano now has his sights set on European football, claiming UEFA Champions’ League qualification is possible.

“Ideally we want to qualify for the Europa League comfortably. It will be tough because the likes of Real Sociedad, Getafe, Sevilla and more will all be wanting the same.

“Who knows we may even qualify for the Champions’ League. You have teams such as Atletico Madrid and Valencia in the mix but we aren’t scared of nobody. We can achieve a lot here."


Cristiano Ronaldo believes Athletic Bilbao boss Oceano Cruz will achieve a lot this season following early criticism from the fans and the Spanish media.

Oceano’s arrival has been far from smooth as ‘Los Leones’ appointed the Portuguese but his compatriot Ronaldo has nothing but praise to offer for the former Sporting captain.

“First and foremost, Oceano is not just a regular person. He was a fantastic footballer for Sporting and Portugal so he knows lot about football.

“He has a very good brain and was fundamental for me when I was developing at Sporting. As a kid, I idolised him and it was great to see him put effort into me years later.”

The Real Madrid star believes Oceano will have no problems with handling the just Basque players rule historically implemented by the club, claiming youth is very much his thing.

“Oceano was always very good with young players and it shows why he was given such roles at Sporting and Portugal.

“He helped out with the evolvement of Simao, Quaresma, me and Nani to name a few. He’s also played with the likes of Luis Figo and Rui Costa so he knows a good player when he sees one.

“I think he will make many Bilbao fans proud this season and they will go far. He is as talented as Bilbao’s squad. They shouldn’t be worried.”

El Equipo/The Team

I am using a transfer update so for the benefit of the doubt, I present to you my current squad which includes the likes of Benat and Kike Sola, with Fernando Llorente the obvious absentee after his move to Juventus.


Gorka Iraizoz (GK), Raul Fernandez (GK)


Mikel San Jose (DC), Andoni Iraola (DR), Borja Ekiza (DC), Mikel Balenziaga (DR/L), Markel Exteberria (DR), Jon Aurtenetxe (DC/L), Jonas Ramalho (DC/R), Aymeric Laporte (DC), Enric Saborit (DL,WBL)


Benat (MC), De Marcos (MC), Ander Herrera (MC/AMC), Iker Muniain (AMC/AML), Ander Iturraspe (DM/MC), Carlos Gurpegi (DM), Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta (AM), Inigo Perez (MC), Markel Susaeta (AMR), Ibai Gomez (AMR/L), Isma (AML), Igor Martinez (AMC)


Aritz Aduriz (ST), Kike Sola (ST), Gaizka Toquero (ST)
Nice update on the squad Benat is quality


Granada midfielder Mikel Rico has rejected an offer from Athletic Bilbao to join their rivals Real Sociedad for £2 million.

Rico had two offers accepted by Granada from ‘Los Leones’ and Sociedad but opted for the latter due to what he called ‘a cloudy situation’.

The Spaniard declared the current state of affairs at Bilbao were too unhealthy and therefore felt compelled to ignore all offers from them.

“It’s a cloudy situation over at Bilbao with all manager talk. I don’t think it’s a good environment to go into and therefore I decided against the move.

“Also, I feel a move to Real Sociedad will suit me more and here I can prove myself in a normal and relaxed way. I’m delighted to wear the blue and white of Pamplona.”
Nice posts :) Keep it up :)
Oooh that little bitch! ;)


Athletic Bilbao has today completed the signings of Asier Riesgo and Jorge Espericueta from Osasuna and Guadalajara.

The two signings mark the first movements of the Oceano Cruz era for Bilbao as he looks to strengthen the depth of his squad.

Riesgo signs a 4 year deal at the age of 28 after moving from rivals Osasuna for £1.6 million and is likely to serve as competition to the current number 1, Gorka Iraizoz.

The 18 year old Espericueta makes his first move of his career for £1 million as Bilbao take advantage of the multiple Basque nationality of the Mexican Under 19’s international.

The young defensive midfielder is expected to play for Atheltic Bilbao’s Under 19’s although stints in the first team and Bilbao’s B team are expected according to the player’s agent.

On his way out however is full back Xabi Castillio, who joins Celta Vigo for a fee believed to be around the £800,000 mark.
Great 2 updates! Loving this! :D
Great updates so far, interesting story

Pre-Season 2012/13

Colchester 1 – 4 Athletic Bilbao

Walsall 0 – 4 Athletic Bilbao

Portugalete 0 – 4 Athletic Bilbao

Baskonia 0 – 3 Athletic Bilbao

Player to Watch

Aritz Aduriz

There are many players that caught my eye including Mikel San Jose, Isma and Ibai Gomez but Aduriz was lively when he featured and has shown signs that he can do the business for us following Fernando Llorente’s departure to Juventus.

Oceano’s Verdict

Our Pre-Season went superbly in my opinion as we dominated all games from start to finish. We’ve shown early signs of togetherness and unity which will be fundamental for us to get off to a good start in La Liga. We scored for fun and defended admirably albeit against weaker opposition respectively.
Nice pre-season, now to play against the toughies! :P
Good pre-season hopefully you can carry it into the league! Good luck :D

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