Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi has revealed that he rejected an offer from Athletic Bilbao in order to be back “where I wanted to be”.
The former Real Madrid man was reportedly the subject of a €26m bid from Los Leones last January but chose to pursue a return to San Sebastian, and he is now focused on proving he made the right decision in Sunday’s Basque derby.
“It’s been slow to get the first win, but we’ve all competed well and now just have to keep working hard,” he said at a Press conference.
“We competed well [against Granada] and also against Espanyol, despite being a man down.
“A derby is different [to other games]. It’ll be a special game, even more so [for me] after two years without playing in one.
“Something was there from Athletic [referring to interest], but I’m back where I wanted to be.
“When I considered leaving Real Madrid, I just wanted to go home and play and I’m very happy to help the team.
“Everything [at Real] is as it was before. I was previously at the club for 10-11 years and have maintained my good relationship with them, despite being away for two years.
“I didn’t have much continuity [in Madrid], while I played almost every game [for Real last time around], and in recent games I’ve been close to my best.
“The most important thing is to score first. We’ve not conceded many goals this season and that must go on.”