Bilbao hope for positive start
Bilbao’s build-up to the new campaign has been dominated by
speculation over the futures of striker Fernando Llorente and
midfielder Javi Martinez.
Llorente has told the club he will not extend his current deal
when it runs out at the end of the season, attracting interest from
across Europe, while Martinez has been linked with a move to Bayern
It has prevented Athletic from being able to prepare for
tomorrow’s opener away from the spotlight, but midfielder Carlos
Gurpegui is confident the team can get on with their job.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season,” he said on
“Exciting times are ahead. We have a young team, we have always
been competitive and will continue to be. I can’t wait to run out
on the pitch.
“The atmosphere is positive. There have been distractions but we
will try and give everything we can to ensure Athletic finish as
high up the table as possible to make our fans proud.”
Bilbao have doubts over the fitness of Iker Muniain, who has a
right leg injury. Fernando Amorebieta is recovering from groin
surgery while Jon Aurtenetxe is also sidelined with a groin
Betis have had distractions of their own during pre-season, with
club president Miguel Guillen among those involved in a dispute
with the Football League (LFP) over television rights and
Several La Liga clubs have voiced their unhappiness at what they
perceive to be a bias towards Barcelona and Real Madrid,
threatening to strike over the issue.
Action was avoided following a meeting this week between the
clubs and the LFP, but Guillen is aware it will take time for the
matter to be fully resolved.
“We must have a solution but it will not be ready tomorrow,” he
told Betis’ radio station.
“It is nevertheless an important step that a large group of
clubs strongly disagree with some of the decisions made by the
“It is a very important step that the president of the Sports
Council is aware of which issues need dealing with and will now
intervene and help solve these structural problems which are taking
their toll on the league.”
On the pitch, Joel Campbell is expected to return to training
today after playing for Costa Rica in midweek.