Andoni Zubiaurre (Ordizia, 1995) does not resign himself to living in the shadow of Alejandro Remiro. He stayed at Real last summer despite being eyed by half of the second division to fulfill his dream of making his Real Sociedad debut, the team of his life, which he has already done , but also to try to be their starting goalkeeper. It’s inside. The Ordiziarra grants MD his first interview as a txuri urdin guardian.
The break without official holidays is prolonged?
Yes, yes, it is above all a different year for us. The World Cup came in the middle of the season, everything stops, we have a few weeks off, then we start again… We are all looking forward to playing again now.
Are these friendlies good for coming into contact with the grass?
Yes yes. We were unemployed, we rested, but what better than friendly matches to get up to speed.
How was this match against Rayo?
It was the first minutes after the break and it was not in the best way, which we would have liked. But the important thing is to accumulate the minutes and to have sensations, like in Leeds.
He only played one game. Given your situation, do you enjoy playing these friendly matches?
Sure. I can’t wait to wear the Real jersey, to play with this team.
How’s the season going?
I take it very calmly and naturally. We know that Remiro is doing very well, that it is very difficult to enter the ’11’; but we continue to work with the same enthusiasm to be prepared and start at any time.
What does his debut in this Cup match mean for Zubiaurre?
It was a very special day, a day I had been waiting for for a long time. It took a long time to wait, but he came and it was one of the best days of my life.
When did Imanol tell you he was going to start?
A day or two before the game. And I took it well until before the match, when the typical nervousness entered me. In the end everything went well.
Who was the first to call when you found out?
To the family and the bride. They were very excited to come see me and they had to organize the trip. They were very happy. There they all went.
How did the party go?
We dominated and scored in minute 1, but it cost us late in the game. They scored the equalizer on the counter, but we pressed the changes and we won well.
Before the game, yes; but once launched, everything went well.
He is from Ordizia, from La Real, did you visualize this moment?
Yes several times. Moreover, he had been called up for several years, being on the bench (41 calls before the debut), but the time had not come. From the first call, you imagine this could be the first game. It took a little longer than expected, but it happened.
Will this be the first of a long series?
Let’s hope so. If we continue to work and perform at a good level, opportunities will arise and I hope to respond to them in the best way.
If you are in the first team, it is because they see you prepared, are you too?
Sure. I imagine they will see me prepared because otherwise they wouldn’t give me the opportunity to renew and be here. I feel that there is confidence in me and I have confidence in myself. For me, La Real is an idyllic place.
Do you resign yourself to being a substitute or do you aspire to overthrow Remiro?
My objective is to be Real’s starter, clearly. I work every day to be at the best possible level and I try to be a starter on weekends. Then the coach decides. I don’t work to be on the bench, but to compete.
You had many second division teams waiting this summer and Real offered you to renew, what was your approach?
The offers were numerous, some had already reached us in the middle of the season. When it was coming to an end, there were already more interested teams, but in the end being able to continue at home and being able to fulfill my dream was what attracted me the most. Knowing that the opportunities to play might be less, we decided that this was the best option and that we were going to do everything for it.
Did your discussions with Olabe and Imanol influence the decision?
Yes, they insisted at all times that I was part of their plans, that they trusted me. And that in the end comes to you and makes you feel valued. It helped a lot in making the decision.
How do you judge this half-season that you played at Sanse?
In the beginning, I didn’t need to play a lot. And after Christmas, especially after the game against Leganés, I started to come in and played almost everything. The level was very good and the team also made an incredible effort. Youth and inexperience in the category were very noticeable. He charged us. It was a great learning experience for everyone. It helped some of us a lot. For me it was a very good season, with very good experiences. I keep it with a lot of love and a lot of positivism.
How do you define yourself as a goalkeeper?
I consider myself a calm goalkeeper who has a good command of the passing game and, in general, I am a complete goalkeeper, without standing out in any particular area. A goalkeeper who adapts well to everything, who is confident and calm.
And as goalkeeper of Real, you will have to hit the ball well, right?
Yes, the coach asks us a lot to play with our feet. We work hard on it and we attach a lot of importance to it.
He has the best teacher next to him in this art, Álex Remiro
It’s like that. It’s wonderful how he plays, I have it as a reference. Having him by my side every day and learning from him is a luxury.
Is it a risky job to be a Real goalkeeper?
Being a goalkeeper is a risky job in all teams, but in teams like Real where you come from behind and wait for the opponent to put pressure on you, you have one more pressure point. But it’s what we’re used to, what we do every day and we’re done with it.
Why is it so difficult for a goalkeeper like you to leave?
It is true that, from what we have seen, it is a position in which it is more difficult to settle. Many generations have passed and no one has managed to stay. It may be because it is a very different position from the others, in which certain things are required which are not so easy to fulfill. But hey, since we’ve come to this, we’re going to hold out as long as possible and for the rest of the young people in the academy to see that it’s possible to get there and that’s the goal, to stay here as long as possible as many years as possible.
Is this your big challenge?
Sure. Better than here, I don’t think it’s going to be anywhere. I will try to take the opportunity and show that I am capable of being here for many years.
How do you evaluate this daily work before with Llopis, now with Alemán?
I think they do an amazing job. Since the career of goalkeeper coaching has existed, everything has changed a lot, goalkeepers have generally improved in everything. They do an exceptional job, they help us a lot, they correct, they analyze… Without them we wouldn’t even be half of what we are.
Remiro told us that Jon Alemán had a huge punch…
Sometimes he shoots better than some players. He is very demanding because he has a very good foot.
Has he always been a goalkeeper?
Yes yes. I have always been a goalkeeper, since school, even before arriving in Ordizia. I don’t like running much either and, as I was good, I stayed in goal. And until now.
When was the first call from Real?
When I was a fry I started doing the occasional practice sessions and tournaments. Then I returned to Ordizia and even young I continued in the city. Antiguoko signed me and Real recalled me at the end of the youth stage.
I started training in the División de Honor as an outsider and joined Real ‘C’, although until Christmas I was in Martutene.
He quickly started going with Real…
Yes, that first year I was already called up with Sanse and the following year I debuted with Sanse and started getting into the first team and went to European calls for the team first, Macedonia, Norway…
What do you remember as a fan?
At home, they like Real Madrid a lot and we watched all the matches on TV. We came to loose parties. Aita has always been very real and now, with me, more.
Who did he love?
The days of Kovacevic, Nihat caught up with me…
Have you met Luis Arconada?
Yes, I met him from time to time, while traveling. Of course, they told me about him, I saw many videos of him. It is a complete reference.
Which team-mate stood out to you the most watching him from the goal?
Momo Cho. It has spectacular speed and overflow. This will bring us great joy. He has an incredible future.
Can you dream of the Champions League?
Sure. The Champions League is our greatest illusion. If we reached third place in the middle of the season, that means something. A lot of work remains to be done, but it’s a reachable goal that you can achieve