Un golpe en la mesa de Asier Villalibre

A hit on the table of Asier Villalibre

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The second appointment of the preseason after the triangle of the Cup of Traditions served Ernesto Valverde to test new variants for the league premiere on August 15 against Mallorca in San Mamés. Also to find the path of the goal. Up to four goals, not in vain, the rojiblancos endorsed Bochum of the Bundesliga in a match where claw poker came in the second half. After, to add insult to injury, the Teutonic side went ahead on the scoreboard in the 58th minute through Zoller in the first dangerous action generated by the Germans, who were devastated by a Bilbao cyclone in the last half hour of the game .

Yes in the first half the associative football of the lions shone with Iker Muniain and Oihan Sancet in perfect harmony in the wide area, but without obtaining the long-awaited and sought-after prize of the goal, after the break the opposite happened. Those of Valverde were not so exquisite in handling the ball, but they showed remarkable and rarely seen efficiency in the shot withn Asier Villalibre as main protagonist. Raúl García, with a sublime picadita against which the German goalkeeper Michael Esser could do nothing, put the tables on the scoreboard and the Gernika striker, in his first minutes of the preseason when he jumped onto the pitch after the break to the detriment of Gorka Guruzeta, signed the second and the fourth goal in the afternoon in a red-and-white key with Iñaki Williams as the third scorer in between.

It was, thus, a test of great production for a comforted Villalibre, who did not forgive in his two face-to-face meetings with the rival goalkeeper. In both actions, with all the time in the world to decide, which is sometimes a handicap for the striker himself, he defined the buffalo to perfection, who first beat Esser high and then low to remove a sovereign weight from over. I needed to win in confidence on 20 Athleticwithout minutes like Guruzeta in the triangle that opened the preseason, and he was able to do it based on goals, just what is demanded of him at 24 years old after a last season marked by physical problems.

Up to four muscular injuries accumulated the Gernikarra throughout a 2021-22 exercise that ended up becoming an authentic torture on an individual basis. At the end of September, in his first start of the course against Rayo Vallecano in San Mamés, he suffered a first muscle mishap that was followed by another three in October, November and April of this year, when he had to ask for the change after leaving off the bench against Celta in the second half. Only 540 minutes, spread over 19 games, was able to add to the league a physically and emotionally depleted Villalibre who, with only two goals in his locker, closed the campaign with the worst possible feelings waiting to be able to vindicate himself in the coming season.


The arrival of Guruzeta, who started yesterday against Bochum, has increased the competition for the Gernika player from the start, pointed out even so by a part of the fans as the scoring hope for a course in which Valverde must decide who his starting striker is. The aforementioned Guruzeta, Iñaki Williams, who acted as a battering ram in Sunday’s triangle and as a right winger yesterday with a goal included, are the other options that Txingurri handles in addition to the figure of Villalibre, who precisely made his debut by Viandar de la Vera in December 2016.

Six years later, with a total of 95 games and 13 goals behind him as a rojiblanco, the truth is that the Gernikarra has not been able to get off to a better start in a preseason in which he knows he must take a step forward. In the summer of last year, under the orders of Marcelino García Toral, Villalibre only saw the goal on one occasion. He scored against Southampton in the penultimate friendly and did not see a goal again until April 3. Yesterday, in Germany, the buffalo, with its sights perfectly calibrated, hit the table.

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