Leadership, character and talent. Lot of talent. Nerea Eizagirre (Tolosa, 01/04/2000) Despite his youth, he captains a Royal Society that has entered the txuri-urdin history books thanks to its qualification for the next Champions League. Second with 62 points, they only need to add one more to achieve a runner-up finish that would also be historic.
And the player from Tolosa is clear that they will look for him against Granadilla Tenerife (tomorrow, 11:00 a.m.). “We want second place”affirms Eizagirre to ACE in a talk in which he reviews the foundations of the realistic project. “We had many casualties, very important casualties… It was a very young team but I think we have surprised. No one expected this Real to do the season it has done”Explain.
With 14 goals (goals in many cases) and five assists in the league this season, Eizagirre has once again shown why she is considered one of the best young players in Europe. Precisely his enormous talent caused the Manchester City bet big on her last summer. The ’10’ txuri-urdin, clear on and off the field, had no problem telling it then, just as he doesn’t have enough to recognize why he stayed: “It was an offer that, if we talk about economics, I wouldn’t be here. But I believed in the project”.
“Without dreams, there is no motivation and we we have never stopped dreaming“, says, inspiring, a Nerea Eizagirre who has among her win the Champions. He also speaks about the Selection: “It would be a nice thing for Spain to win the European Championship. I hope I can be at that date”.
First of all, congratulations on this historic classification for the Champions League.
We are happy because it was the main objective, but it is true that we still have one more week to go and we want second place. The objective at no time was to be second, but once we are there we want to achieve it.
When did it become a real goal to enter Europe?
At the beginning the objective was to have a good season and we knew that it was not going to be easy seeing how the teams had been strengthened. We had many casualties, important casualties of players who had been at the club for many years. It was a very young team but I think we have surprised. No one expected this Real to do the season it has done and I think it is fair and deserved to be within those first three places. We wanted to train well, keep growing. In the first five days won it seemed like luck, but we knew that those victories came from work and we could do something great. Without dreams, there is no motivation and we have never stopped dreaming.
Have you felt pressure to close qualification for the Champions League?
It’s been a busy two weeks, people look at you more, they tell you that Real is already in the Champions League… Here in Gipuzkoa, football is a lot and everyone is from Real, in the end they know you on the street, they stop. We notice that social pressure. But I personally am not a player who is affected.
They get it before clubs like Atlético or Real Madrid… What have been the keys to your success?
Trust what we have done. From the beginning we saw that Real Madrid, Atlético or Levante itself, which started playing the Champions League, strengthened themselves very well, but many times the dressing room has to go in the same direction. The names of certain players do not give you that success or ensure you are where we are. Everything has been a union between the players who arrived and adapted well, such as Gaby García, Iris Arnaiz or Emma Ramírez, and those who were already here or the youngsters of the house such as Cecilia Marcos, Amaiur Sarriegi, Elene Lete, Adriana Nanclares… They have also taken a step forward, and between the fact that they have grown and the experience that they already had, well, we can be where we are.
There has been a commitment to retain precisely players like you or some of the young women you mention…
Yes and it was very important. Several players ended their contract this year. It is true that even at the beginning of the season I had an offer from City. It was an offer that, if we talk about economics, I would not be here. But I believed in the project that was there. I knew that there was something valuable: young people willing to work, with great quality and a great future. I bet on it and it turned out well. Next year the base will continue and very important people have also been renewed in the locker room, even though they don’t have as many minutes, such as Iraia or Maddi Torre, who are captains.
Natalia Arroyo will also follow, is this continuity also important?
Yes, Real last year and this one maintains the same idea of creative football. I would dare to say that, apart from Barça, we are one of the teams that has played the best all season. We are playing very colorful football, trying to get the ball from behind, with arrivals in the area, it is seen in our numbers. We take risks and I think that everyone likes this kind of football. I am one of those who likes to play football enjoying themselves and in this style we enjoy a lot and a lot, that is one of the bases of Natalia Arroyo’s football. We know that the work of this coaching staff is up to the task of each match and we feel very protected when it comes to going out to play.
They have been given somewhat better results away from home…
I think we’ve gotten better results than expected away from home and at home the streak against Barça, Atlético and Real Madrid has penalized us often. It harmed us. It was a tough moment. We had to play on weekends and during the week, we don’t have the same budget as those teams, we aren’t the number of players that they are, we can’t make two elevens, we don’t have that breadth of squad perhaps. But I think that in general it has been seen that this year’s Real has competed in every game and also worked hard and got three points from fields like the one in Huelva.
And they return to the Reale Arena on the last day. Do you want to see the stands full?
The fans are aware that the year we have had is spectacular. Entering the Champions League for the club is something very beautiful and for us personally it is something very valuable. I would like us to be able to play it calmly with the second place achieved. For that you have to do the work that needs to be done this weekend and then enjoy. I think that the fans are also aware that women’s football is growing, we are filling more and more stadiums and I think that Real is not going to be left behind.
A team like Barça can even say that the women’s has filled their stadium more than the men’s, that is the reality
How do you deal with the recurring comment that the stadiums are full because they give away the tickets?
Not many tickets are given away and they are not going to be given away at the Reale Arena either. Those who say that the stadiums fill up because they give away the tickets, I would also like to see the situation of Barça… If giving away the men’s tickets they would have such a powerful ticket that the women’s has had. There are the numbers. I would like to see a match with 91,648 in a Barça-Real Madrid Clasico, which is supposed to be the most crowded, which was in the semifinal against Wolfsburg —the last entry in a men’s Clasico at the Camp Nou was 86,422—. We haven’t had it. A team like Barça can even say that the women’s has filled their stadium more than the men’s, that is the reality. We’ll see how many people come to see us.
You will fulfill the dream of playing for Real in the Champions League, what other dreams do you have?
I am very ambitious, I would like to play and win competitions, the maximum possible titles… I said it a long time ago, if it was with Real and at home, the better. If not, there would come a time when he would have to leave. I think I’m in a place where I can continue to grow every day, as long as we go hand in hand, I’ll be here. If not, then I’ll look for other options. There are always dreams, now we have managed to play the Champions League and then it will be to stand in the quarterfinals and hopefully one day have that title with me, be it here or away from here.
And the European Championship?
Seeing the level of the National Team and the young women who are entering now, we are going to enjoy more, to contribute every time they give us those little minutes. It is clear who is more important, but in a team there must also be people like us: young, eager to learn, eager to improve and when we have that opportunity, be at the level. It would be nice if Spain won the European Championship and I hope I can be at that event.