Íñigo Martínez celebrates a goal with Athletic. / JM SERRANO ARCE (GETTY)
Surely you have heard it many times and do not quite believe it. I would tell them the same thing happened to me. I had read so many times that "be careful what you wish for because it can come true" that I had lost respect for it and after several, many attempts to put that maxim to the test (all failed because, obviously, the wish never came true) , when Athletic and Real Sociedad were in the semifinals of the 2020 Cup (Oops, the past that is present, and this would give for a new chapter of the Return to the Past I did not think of both in the final. I remember that when Athletic was persistently determined (nothing is impossible for Bilbao , its people and, even less, for its symbols) to face the most prodigious decade of the Catalans , challenging them in Valencia, Madrid and, to top it off, Bilbao , at the Camp Nou itself, in those frustrating rojiblancos times it occurred to me to formulate my wish: “I just hope that in the next final, Athletic does not meet with Barça.” The genius of the bottle, always diligent when he is not wait, he told me: "I wish to conc edited ”. And he brought me to Real Sociedad.
Let's see, genius, very good, the wish is granted (although you and I will talk about that other final on the 17th, again against Barça, and again that brain divided into two parts that they are only one, or are they really two?), but this bringing the neighbors on the landing to that final seems like a huge joke to me
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Let's see how I explain it to you so that you understand. Due to the desire of a mother, I am a guy who was born in Vitoria and three days later was already in his cradle in Aretxabaleta, deep Guipúzcoa. And that, because of those things in life, I made Iribar my hero and Athletic his Camelot . And that, because of those football things, I ended up fulfilling my dreams by wearing that goalkeeper jersey with the Athletic crest on the chest.
But those in blue and white, those of Real Sociedad , have always been my ladder neighbors, my friends of the gang (well, not all…) and even my guests at Christmas dinner in Arrasate (well, not all… but most of them).
So far we have gotten along reasonably well, with our moments of joy and sadness, our disappointments and disappointments, our tug of war. Come on, as in any family worth its salt. Yes, it is true that that of Joseba Etxeberria in 1995 opened many wounds , but they will not tell me that that rooster was not destined to wear the rojiblanca. Or Iñigo Martínez, more recently. But with our pluses and minuses, we had been coping with it and we even seemed like good neighbors.
And now, genius of geniuses, you take us (you will say that you only make come true that wish that I send you) to elucidate, for the first time in the story, not just a title (I would even allow that), but a before and after. A permanent groundhog day in which one and the other go, come on, to remain in a loop. One of those days that in future generations will be remembered, in those same Christmas dinners, when everything has already been as virtual as elvers, as the only tangible and real fact to be observed: “It was in 2021, ending that of the covid , when we were Cup champions and we beat… ”.
From there to the legend, to the myth, to the eternal joke there is only one goal for or against. Or, now, a line badly drawn by the VAR.
A generous and accommodating genius, I just want to tell you that comforting with history and destiny, I prefer to pay for coffees, some food and even Christmas elvers, because Athletic wins than for otherwise. It's in your hands.
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