La Real the ‘only club’ for Prieto

Real Sociedad midfielder Xabi Prieto has no regrets over spending his entire career with the club and is as happy with football as ever.

The 34-year-old, who last week hinted he may retire at the end of the current campaign, has spent the entirety of his 18-year professional career at the club.

“To be at the same club for your whole career, the first and most important thing is that the club wants you to be there,” Prieto told ESPN’s Sid Lowe.

“Maybe professionally, it would have been better to go to a first division team or to play abroad, but I didn't think I was going to be any happier somewhere else.

“So I set myself the challenge to get La Real back to the first division. It was harder than we would have liked we got there in the end. And the year we went up was one of the loveliest moments in my career.

“I was happy. And that weighed more heavily than anything else, more than any offers that were bigger economically or more significant in sporting terms.

“I remember talking to my agent, even people in my family who thought that maybe it would be better for me to go and try to build a career somewhere else, but I could never see myself in a different shirt, I could never see myself outside San Sebastian.

“When I was little, if I was playing up the best way my parents had of stopping me, of getting me to behave was to say: 'Xabi, carry on like that and you won't be going to Atoxa on Sunday.'

“And I'd be like: 'Oh.' I'd soon stop. Because, bloody hell, going to see la Real was what made me happiest; that was the best moment of the week for me, it was what I most liked doing.

“That feeling you have when you're a kid is always there.”

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