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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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Pundits & Commentators

MB: Mark Bolton
GH: Graham Hunter
GM: Gaizka Mendieta
RP: Rob Palmer
GB: Guillem Balague

MB: Welcome to the 2014/2015 Copa Del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid live here on Sky Sports 2. We have what promises to be an exciting game in store for you as we introduce our guests for today. Joining us will be the usual suspect Guillem Balague and a Basque man at heart with beautiful blonde hair, he also wasn’t a bad footballer in his day, it’s Gaizka Mendieta!

Let’s get straight to it then. We are moments away from kick-off. Gaizka, what will the players be thinking as they warm up right now?

GM: Well, you’ll get the usual nervous players. I think it’s normal in any occasion for everyone in the stadium to be a little nervous. No matter how good you are or your team is, only very, very few players manage to keep completely cool. Right now, I speak from experience; the players will be focusing on the game completely, imagining scenarios and what they will do. If anybody is in danger of boiling under the pressure today, it will be Real Madrid I think, because they are favourites.

MB: This is the third time in a row Athletic Bilbao has made it into the final. Can it be third time lucky for them or will it be they who crumble under the pressure?

GB: Of course being here again will play on Bilbao’s minds but as Gaizka said, it is Real Madrid who we all expect will win so it is they who will have to deliver. Bilbao will just give it their best shot because deep down they know who is likely to win. By doing that however, Bilbao won’t be no pushovers. They aren’t scared of anybody and have beaten Madrid before. With Real Madrid eyeing up the La Liga title, there is definitely the chance Bilbao can take this from Madrid’s grasp.

MB: Sticking with Bilbao, there has been much talk about the unhappiness of Ander Iturraspe and how he doesn’t like the way he is led out by the manager. What do you think about these comments and how may that affect the squad.

GB: It’s uncalled for isn’t it? Bilbao has made better progress since last season, they have played good football and Iturraspe drops the bomb weeks away from the final. I think this problem should not have come out as it did and I believe it may have stemmed a few months ago too. Notice how many times Iturraspe has played for Bilbao since 2012 compared to the last month to month and a half. The fans are disappointed and it’s really sad to see such an important player have these kinds of problems at a crucial point in the season.

MB: Have we seen the last of Iturraspe in a Bilbao shirt Gaizka?

GM: Well, I’m not sure. Ideally, Oceano would have used him today but I don’t know exactly how much he’s dived into the case. He seemed very upset with the accusations which would suggest Iturraspe is finished here at Bilbao. But he remains a vital part of this team and how it functions. Oceano will know that better than anyone so he could play today even.

MB: We shall find out soon if Iturraspe is indeed in the starting 11 for Bilbao. Predictions boys?

GB: 3-1 to Real Madrid in extra time.

GM: I will go for a 1-0 win for Athletic Bilbao.

MB: And with that, we send you other to our commentators for today’s final, Rob Palmer and Graham Hunter.

RP: Thank you Mark. You’ve handed it over just in time for the line-ups. Let’s have a look…



A few changes in the Real Madrid side as Diego Lopez starts and Derik replaces the injured Raphael Varane. Routine side from Madrid other than that whereas Athletic Bilbao have no Ander Iturraspe. In fact, he hasn’t even made the 18 man squad for today.

GH: Which shows just how much friction there is at the moment at Bilbao. Will that cost Oceano’s team? We shall see but Varane’s absence will also be a big miss for Real Madrid.

RP: Well the stage is set, the teams are ready and we are UNDERAWAY HERE FOR THE COPA DEL REY FINAL!

2 – Arteta spreads the play out wide to Ramalho. The full back whips it in early and ADURIZ!!!! 34 YEAR OLD ARITZ ADURIZ HAS LAUNCHED BILBAO IN FRONT WITH A GUIDING HEADER!!!!



GH: What a leap from Aduriz and it’s all him for this goal. Ramalho has space out wide and puts in a decent cross. Aduriz found the space in between Derik and Ramos and powered a header perfectly out of Diego Lopez’s reach. Superb start for Bilbao!!!

8 – Antoine Griezmann plays the one two with Arteta… buts miss controls it. He keeps the ball and fizzes it IN!!!! WHAT A SAVE FROM DIEGO LOPEZ!!!!

GH: That is!!! Bilbao have come out of the blocks steaming here as Raul Garcia drives a fantastic volley low and hard inside the box. Lopez gets down well and keeps Real Madrid in it. Madrid need to wake up here!

10 – Modric takes the corner for Madrid. Ekiza clears it away but it falls to ISCOOOOO!!!!! REAL MADRID HAVE THE EQUALISER THROUGH ISCO!!!!



GH: Great finish from Isco. A curling effort from the Spaniard just outside the box. Bilbao failed to close him down in time and perhaps the keeper Ruffier could have done better there. Not that Real Madrid will care!

12 – Isco beats Arteta for pace here. He works it with Tevez and he manages to get behind Bilbao’s defence! ISCO THROUGH ON GOAL! ISCO SCORES!!!! REAL MADRID HAVE TURNED THIS AROUND WITHIN MINUTES!!!!!



GH: What. A. Game. Absolutely terrific from both sides so far and there we have it, 3 goals within the first 12 minutes. Non-stop action.

40 – Lopez takes the goal kick. Tevez wins the header and goes for seconds. Still Tevez who slips ISCO THROUGH!!! SAVED BY RUFFIER!!!

GH: Isco perhaps should score there! He tried to curl it around Ruffier but the Frenchman was alert to the possibility.



HT – It’s half time in the Copa Del Rey final. An eventful start to the game eventually fizzled out towards the latter stages of the half. Real Madrid lead Athletic Bilbao 2-1.


45 – Bilbao get us underway for the second half of the Copa Del Rey final. It will be now or never for them.

46 – Monreal plays it in-field to Arteta. Mikel Arteta runs out of options here and opts for the simple pass to De Marcos. Antoine Griezmann finds some space here however as De Marcos squeezes it through to him. The cross….. AND IT’S IN BY RAUL GARCIA FROM SIX YARDS OUT!!! BILBAO ARE LEVEL!!!



GH: Well that run from Griezmann was the catalyst. He found some space, in behind the Madrid defence, played a cheeky dinked cross in and Garcia will not miss at the back post from there. Better from Bilbao!

48 – Bilbao are adding more pressure here as Susaeta lines up the corner. INIGO MARTINEZ!!! SHOULD SCORE!!!

GH: Oooohh That’s a chance! That is a very good chance!

58 – De Marcos. Looks for Route 1 as Garcia nods it down for ADURIZ!!!!! BILBAO ARE AHEAD ONCE AGAIN!!!! ARITZ ADURIZ WITH THE HALF VOLLEY FROM INSIDE THE BOX!!! POST AND IN!!!



GH: Well where is Madrid in this 2nd half? They dominated for large part of the 1st but they are sloppy once again here!

63 – Play has been stopped here as Markel Susaeta is making some signals towards the dugout. It looks as if he has picked up a knock…. Yes. Susaeta limps off field and will be replaced by Ibai Gomez.

78 – Athletic Bilbao is preparing a change. Iker Muniain will replace Raul Garcia who scored the equaliser and assisted Bilbao’s third goal.

GH: A great performance from the Spaniard. He really gave it his all today and battled for the crest on his shirt. There’s still plenty of time for a Madrid goal but Bilbao fans may be thanking his efforts in 15 minutes or so.

80 – Casemiro is charging forward here! Arteta fails to tackle him as he plays it to TEVEZ!!! Straight at the keeper!

90 – Just THREE minutes separate Oceano Cruz from his first piece of silverware! Three minutes added on by the ref. Can Bilbao hold on? Some fans can’t even bare to watch!

93 – Casemiro rushes to take the throw in as De Marcos dispossesses Alonso and finds Muniain. The Bilbao star takes it into the corner and the ref takes one look at his watch…. IT’S ALL OVER!!! ATHLETIC BILBAO HAS DONE IT AT THE THIRD TIME OF ASKING. 3-2 THE FINAL SCORE. ATHLETIC BILBAO ARE THE COPA DEL REY CHAMPIONS 2014/2015!!!!





WELL DONE!!!!!
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FANS REJOICE CUP GLORY



Fans of Athletic Bilbao partied long into the night yesterday after they witnessed their side win their first trophy since 1984 against Real Madrid for the Copa Del Rey title.

Bilbao ran out 3-2 winners in front of a packed Camp Nou to and send their supporters into euphoria, having failed at the final hurdle in the previous three seasons.

There was only one man on the lips of all fans and that was Portuguese boss Oceano Cruz who guided them to victory at the third time of trying.

“He is a legend!” one fan said. “Today is a day I will never forget and it feels good, after all those years of coming close, to call yourself Champions. Thank You Oceano!”

Athletic Bilbao’s Supporters Club’s spokesperson also reserved special praise for their much loved manager, claiming his resilience in being cool headed as the primary factor as to why ‘Los Leones’ won today.

“Oceano deserves this! We’ve had people come towards us and say he needs to change or whatever but he found his style, and a style we love too. He believes in his own system and so do the players.

“Even if a small minority of the fans and players don’t believe in the tactics, he’s stuck to his guns and shown belief in his own ability which has proven to be the right choice today.”


The newly crowned Copa Del Rey champions will now face the undecided La Liga winner next season for the Supercopa Espana in August 2015.
Excellent result against Madrid. Congratulations :)
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IRAOLA REVEALS PRIDE



AS Monaco full back and former Athletic Bilbao captain Andoni Iraola has heaped praise onto his ex-teammates and manager following their Copa Del Rey heroics.

Bilbao managed to overcome a Real Madrid side after their failed attempt last year and won their first trophy for 21 years.

Club legend Iraola claims he always believed in his former colleagues and has a feeling we could be seeing the rise of a special era.

“What was achieved yesterday was fantastic. The manager, the players, the fans, the board; everyone should be congratulated for their success.

“I’ve seen so much hard work go into the club all for this day. Finally the fans have a triumph to celebrate and I wish I could be there with them.

“I don’t think this Bilbao team will stop here. As I said before I left, there is something very positive growing and we could be seeing the beginning of a very exciting era for the club.”

ITURRASPE SKIPS CUP PARTY



Ander Iturraspe has dropped the biggest hint yet that he may leave Athletic Bilbao next summer after skipping their Copa Del Rey open top bus parade.

Bilbao defeated Real Madrid to win their first trophy in 21 years but the unhappy midfielder didn’t get called up to the game.

Iturraspe blasted Oceano Cruz for the discipline of his team talks, to which the manager Oceano shrugged off his claims and their relationship is believed to have been strained ever since.

Now the 26 year old made the decision to skip Bilbao’s celebrations which included past and present players of the club as they paraded through the city.

Little is known whether Iturraspe will force a move away or not but what looks likely is that he has played his final game for Bilbao.
Ooooh rebel!! Great Writing! :D
1
Great win against Real Madrid mate. Too bad somebody ruined the celebrations. :/
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May 2015




Real Zaragoza 1 – 0 Ath. Bilbao




Villarreal 2 – 2 Ath. Bilbao




Ath. Bilbao 3 – 0 Numancia




La Liga Table




Our Player of the Month




Aritz Aduriz


Goals, goals and more goals. That has been the story for this man this season. One more time, our best performer.

Oceano’s Verdict


We slipped up again at a crucial moment and were shrugged off to 4th so it’s hard to be happy… but we did earn Champions’ League qualification so I’ll take it regardless. We should have won our first two games but at least we won our last and a healthy win it was.
Just caught up and what a win!! Coming from behind against Real has to be one of the hardest things and you did it! :D Is it a case of fourth or third time lucky for you? :P
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2014/15 Award Winners


Ballon D’Or




Gareth Bale


Golden Boy




Raheem Sterling


La Liga Player of the Year




Lionel Messi


Spanish Player of the Year




Asier Illarramendi


La Liga Young Player of the Year




Jonas Ramalho


La Liga Top Goalscorer




Cristano Ronaldo

38 Goals

La Liga Spanish Top Goalscorer




Aritz Aduriz

30 Goals

La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year




Rui Patricio


La Liga Manager of the Year




Jurgen Klopp


La Liga Team of the Year


Aduriz deservedly gets into the TOTS! :D
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2014/15 Season


UEFA Champions’ League Winners




Chelsea


UEFA Europa League Winners




Manchester United


Club World Cup Championships Winners




Barcelona


La Liga Winners




Barcelona


Relegated




Sporting Gijon, Numancia, Real Valladolid


Promoted




Celta Vigo, Rayo Vallecano, Elche


Barclays Premier League Winners




Manchester City


Relegated




Sunderland, Reading, Brighton


Promoted




Wolves, Watford, Cardiff


Ligue 1 Winners




Paris Saint-Germain


Bundesliga Winners




Borussia Dortmund


Serie A Winners




Juventus


Liga Zon Sagres Winners




FC Porto


Eredivisie




Ajax


Athletic Bilbao’s 2013/14 Review


Not a bad season for us by all means. We managed to achieve 4th place and earn the coveted UEFA Champions’ League spot which we so wanted but we would have liked 3rd place. Atletico Madrid stole that from us on head-to-head results unfortunately but we played reasonably well throughout the season so it is not something I will worry too much about.

The highlight has to be our conquest of the Copa Del Rey however. 21 years without a trophy and finally we have something to show for. So much hard work has gone into this but at last we can say we did it. We are Champions. We won, loved the feeling and want more!!!

Overall, we have plenty to be satisfied about. We improved domestically and bagged a cup. The target for next season shall be to get 3rd at least and hopefully make it to the final once more. We are back in the Champions League too so we’ll be desperate to show the rest of Europe what we can do. We want to progress to the Last 16 at least!

Bilbao’s Player of the Year




Aritz Aduriz


Bilbao’s Top Goalscorer




Aritz Aduriz

40 Goals

Bilbao’s Most Assists




Oscar De Marcos

11 Assists

Bilbao’s Most Appearances




Oscar De Marcos

49 Appearances

Bilbao’s Highest Rated




Iker Muniain

7.66

Bilbao’s Most Man of the Match Awards




Aritz Aduriz

7

Bilbao’s Team of the Year


ITURRASPE LOOKS FOR MOVE



Athletic Bilbao outcast Ander Iturraspe has confirmed for the first time that he will seek a move away from the Copa Del Rey champions.

The midfielder was clear to criticise his manager Oceano Cruz’s stance on the team and quickly found his spot in the starting 11 compromised towards the final games of the season.

Now Iturraspe has come to the conclusion that he can no longer play at the club and requested that Bilbao let him go this summer.

“Things have been said, arguments have occurred; I think my position in the team is irreversible and just as the team didn’t need me in May, they won’t need me now.

“It’s sad that I have to come to this conclusion because it was a joy to play for my local team. But a move will be good for me too.

“I’m 27 years old now so I want a new challenge to better myself. I’ve come to the end of the road here.”


Iturraspe, who has played 177 times for Athletic Bilbao, has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Atletico Madrid with a fee of around £13 million expected for the Spaniard.

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