Athletic Club star: “I haven’t enjoyed playing football for a long time”

Athletic Club left-back Yuri Berchiche is one of the finest in Spain on his day and a crucial force on the flank for Los Leones. Yet recent years have been dogged by absences and injuries, something that has taken its toll on Yuri.

“It’s been a long time since I enjoyed playing football,” he admitted in a club press conference on Wednesday.

Yuri appeared positive about the path ahead, as Athletic, who currently sit fifth, look to challenge for European football once again.

“I hope to gain confidence in myself. The team is showing now that it is on the right path. I want to enjoy it again and find my good feelings again. I have the confidence of the coach and my teammates. We are in a very exciting season if things continue like this.”

Despite a promising start to the season, Yuri has once again missed significant game time and his injury had stretched beyond six weeks. He should be available for Athletic Club’s trip to Girona though.

When his injury came back, a foot problem, it hit Yuri hard though.

“I did not expect this this season. Already last season it was a total of nine months [injured]. I had a terrible time. It seemed like it was back to normal again and again… You have a really bad time, and with the support of the family it’s a little easier. Now I hope to enjoy myself and that there are no more injuries.”

“There are moments that have been more difficult than ever. It was very difficult for me to come to Lezama and play in San Mamés. It has not been easy. Luckily I have been able to return, but I do not enjoy playing football as I used to. These are moments that happen in the life, that have to happen. Now I hope not to injure myself again, try to stay fit as long as possible and enjoy football again, which is what I like the more than anything.”

He will at least have the experience of last year with which to attack fresh issues. Mundo Deportivo covered his comments.

“Last year was a setback and I didn’t expect to have this same injury again. It’s a bit weird. The doctors told me that they had not seen anything like it. Every time I ran, I felt a sharp pain in my foot. It came from one day to the next, just like last year. Now I have been [out] a month and a half. I have the experience of what I lived before and I have the opportunity to do things as we should have done in the past.”

The life and battle of an injured player, separated from their colleagues and removed from the activity they have spent their entire life doing several times a week, remains one of the lesser told tales of football. Yuri’s words will no doubt ring true for many footballers who have spent significant time out.

Tags Athletic Club La Liga Yuri Berchiche
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