Friday, September 30

“We are very proud”

Sthere is an Athletic and it is the one from Bilbao”. The chant is, perhaps, the most universal of all those sung by the fans of a team that yesterday could not celebrate what would have been its second consecutive Super Cup. A title that escaped in the green but that, despite the inferiority, they won in the stands due to the intensity with which the final was experienced from the side of the San Mams team.

And it was done with just a few dozen Athletic fans who accompanied Marcelino’s fans on the adventure in Riyadh. In the joy of the semi-final and also in the sadness of the grand final. And there was MARCA as the only medium that could experience it with them, feel how one lives in the first person a final so far from Bilbao… and from a San Mamés that they are used to filling with their songs.

There were fans of Marcelino’s and… and there were relatives. Specifically, of three of the leading players of the current Athletic, a group accustomed to fighting for titles. The goalkeeper, Unai Simón, was accompanied by his father, Dani. The Williamses, as readers of this paper have known in the days following the semi-final, from Iaki and Nico’s aunt and mother, Mara. But the ones who cheered the most, jumped and vibrated with the final were the Muniain.

Iker’s father, Fernando, showing that few can be more of Athletic than the father of the great captain, the man who has a Super Cup trophy tattooed on his cufflink with two dates. There will be no third, for now. The mother, Nuria, who got desperate with the chants of the Madridista majority (all Arab fans). His brother Andoni… and, of course, Iker Muniain junior. A blond devil (like his father) who vibrated with the final… and ended up crying in a mixture of exhaustion and seeing his father with his head bowed picking up the runner-up trophy. The little boy, yes, went crazy when, clinging to his grandfather, he saw himself on the giant video scoreboards that focused on the Bilbao fans.

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“We are very proud,” the relatives slipped seeing that, as they recognized at the end, the match was never close to winning. It does not matter, they sneaked into a party that did not end up being that of an Athletic that was close to getting into the fight in the penalty that Courtois parried. It was, they understood, the moment to compete in a final that they won in the stands.

Signaled the end the collegiate and the Williams, the Munian and ca. They left the stadium. A charter flight awaited them, the same as the team, to return to Bilbao on the same night as yesterday. This time without a cup, but with the same sense of belonging that all the players who yesterday wore a shield that they are always proud of have.

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