On 3 January 2021, Marcelino García Toral penned his contract as Athletic Club coach. He replaced Gaizka Garitano shortly before a league match against FC Barcelona. The score against the Catalan team (2-3) was not positive, but the results arrived as soon as the Asturian coach had a few days to work with his new players. And how of his first 15 games with Athletic, Marcelino just lost two. Along the way, he lifted a title with the Leones and got the team into the final of the Copa del Rey.
Seville attended the peak of these 12 months. The victory against FC Barcelona in the extra time of the final of the Spanish Super Cup (2-3) was a boost of energy and ambition for the project. On 17 January, De Marcos, Villalibre and Iñaki Williams gave the Leones the title. Three days before, the protagonist had been Raúl García, with a double in the semifinal against Real Madrid (1-2).
Along with the Super Cup, the Copa del Rey marked Marcelino’s first weeks in Bilbao. Athletic reached the final after beating UD Ibiza, CD Alcoyano, Real Betis and Levante UD. In this way, he would dispute two cup finals in April, with Real Sociedad (postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic) and FC Barcelona (corresponding to the 2020/21 edition) as opponents.
The excitement of return to Europe and the commitment to young people
Athletic was left with the desire to lift another trophy. In LaLiga, they are working to find the necessary consistency to qualify for European competitions. The Biscayan team has not competed internationally since the 2017/18 season. Ending this dynamic is a beautiful challenge for the Asturian coach and his coaching staff.
Marcelino has a squad in which young people acquire a significant role for this challenge. Nico Williams, Agirrezabala, Vivian and Serrano have debuted with him in the first team. In addition, Vencedor, Zarraga and Sancet are becoming essential every day. This commitment to new blood is complemented very well by the contribution of Muniain, Iñaki Williams, Unai Simón, Iñigo Martínez, Lekue, Dani García… They all form the backbone of Marcelino’s project. The adventure began a year ago and aspired to bring great joy to the rojiblancos fans.
Three hundred sixty-five days later, Athletic defeated Osasuna in their 4000th LaLiga game in Pamplona. Marcelino was not present due to positive by Covid19 but highlighted his team’s performance; guided this time from the bench by Rubén Uría… with him coach ‘present’ at all times thanks to new technologies.