His outstanding performances at the last European Under-21 Championship attracted the attention of several clubs, but at the time Antonio Blanco has already clearly defined his destiny. Going back to where you were happy is always a good decision, and that’s what he did this summer when he left his home, Real Madrid, to sign your return to Deportivo Alaves. Now the Cordoba midfielder wants to prove his worth in the First Division, thereby helping the Babasorro club. achieve consistency.
The league break week, is it much different to previous ones?
Yes a little. Taking advantage of the absence of several teammates, we are focusing more on the physical aspect, training very hard to be closer and closer to the optimal level.
They will reach this dead end satisfied; Two wins from four games is a remarkable record for the newly promoted side.
Definitely. We are happy thanks to these six points and, above all, that we achieved them together with our fans. It is very important for us to convert mehndi in the fort and make people enjoy it.
Did you expect such a start? Not only in terms of results, but also in terms of feelings.
The truth is that the impression in the dressing room was that we deserved a few more points. In Cadiz we could have achieved a draw, but in the match with Getafe what happened. I hope we can maintain this good image after the break.
How do you explain the arbitration resolution at the Coliseum? The punishment was given to Abkar, not Ghuridi, which is the same and even more obvious.
These are decisions that we often don’t understand, but football is like that and we have to live with it. The replay shows that this is a very clear elbow strike.
They say that midfielders are the most analytical players on the field. What strengths do you currently see in Alaves?
Well, I think we are improving significantly both with and without the ball and that is very important. Our goal should be to take advantage of moments of dominance, attack space and then become stronger defensively when our opponents take the lead. Also, in midfield it is important to know how to interpret when to speed up and when to calm down the game.
“Decisions like those made at the Coliseum we do not understand; Guridi’s elbow was very clear”
What about weaknesses?
There is always something to improve. The most important thing, at least for now, is that the latest additions take the mechanisms requested by the coach and adapt to the team as quickly as possible. At the moment I believe that we are on the right track because I see a very dedicated group, all its members are ready to contribute.
As for the newcomers, what importance do you attach to having a figure like Kike Garcia in the locker room? He missed two penalties against Valencia and didn’t even flinch.
This gives us a lot. It’s not easy to stay on top of a fight after two mistakes like that, and he does it with complete naturalness. I have no doubt that this experience he will gain will be crucial this season.
You’ve already talked about the team, how do you feel on an individual level?
Well, I’m getting better. It’s true that I finished late because the European Championships delayed all my preparation, but I feel confident and really want to help the team as much as possible. Day after day.
How do you deal with competition for this position? Until now, he has traded with Benavidez.
We all want to start and add a lot of minutes, but I understand that the most important thing is the group. There will be games more suitable for Carlos and others for me; The job of both is to work hard to make things difficult for the coach.
What differences have you noticed between the First and Second Divisions?
Both categories are very complex, but it is true that in the elite, small details have great value. We know that we will be punished for any mistakes we make because we are up against the best players in the world and our goal should be to keep them to a minimum while at the same time taking every opportunity that comes our way.
Do you feel that playing in the top tier contributes to your playstyle? Now, although you can’t be wrong, there is more space here.
Yes, sure. I am a football player who likes to constantly be in contact with the ball and communicate with teammates, and it’s true that there are more moments for this in Example. Just as the demands are very high, so are the rewards for doing things well.
Being, in his words, an association midfielder, he should feel comfortable having a man like Ander Guevara next to him, who also excels in this aspect.
Just like that. It’s always nice to meet teammates on the field who aren’t afraid to combine and clear the ball. Moreover, I believe that as time goes on we will understand each other better and this will be very beneficial for the group.
What’s curious about La Liga is that there doesn’t seem to be a middle table; Half the teams are fighting to qualify for Europe, while the rest are fighting to stay. Is it positive that we have so many direct competitors?
(Laughs) I don’t know, honestly. I am clear that knowing that this will be a very long time, the best we can do is to focus on our goal and take it game by game. No opponent will make our task easier.
Your previous experience in the First Division with Cadiz was not very fruitful, why do you think things will work out well for you with Alaves?
Coming to a club where all the members know me and understand what I can contribute is a good thing to be positive about. Moreover, I am convinced that this is the ideal place to play football and continue to grow.
“Although we all want to start, the most important thing is the team; For me there will be more suitable games for Carlos (Benavidez) and others.”
What helped you overcome that difficult period in Nuevo Mirandilla?
My family, without a doubt. It’s not easy to leave Real Madrid, where you had everything, looking for minutes and not finding them. It takes fortitude not to break down in moments like these, and that’s when the support of your people is most noticeable. Then, of course, the confidence that Slavny gave me over the next six months was fundamental.
How did negotiations go about signing you this summer?
I had several options, it’s true, but my position was clear from the very beginning. The moment Sergio (Fernandez) contacts my representative and Real Madrid, there is nothing more to say on my part. I wanted to go where I was valued, and that was and is Alaves.
Despite this, leaving what had been his home for so many years was not easy.
Clear. Although it was clear to me that it was time to move on from there and start a new phase, I could not be more grateful to the white club and all its members. They made me the person and player I am today.
Consistency comes through Mendizorroza, right?
Certainly. We already saw this at the start of the championship with two victories in two matches. The bond between the fans and the staff is incredible, which really surprised me when I first played here, and we have to take advantage of that.
“I NEVER WRECKED FROM FOOTBALL UNTIL THAT PENALTY FROM VILLALIBRE”
Was it really painful for you to miss out on a promotion?
Yes, any football player strives to play such games. Fortunately, my absence was not in vain; I was able to take part in the European Under-21 Championship, and to be honest, that also really inspired me. There was a difference in emotions.
On the day you said goodbye to your colleagues, were you confident that they would achieve their goal?
I had no doubt. Seeing how they train every day and how close the group is, I knew we deserved the promotion.
How did you feel seconds before Asier Villalibre took the penalty?
Voltage. I’ve never been shocked by football, and at that time I couldn’t do anything about it. It’s not easy to stay calm when you know the season will be decided at the last minute.
He wasn’t at the party either, but he definitely felt like he was part of it.
Honestly, I watched all the videos that have been and will be. It was really nice to see how the whole city turned out and I think the excitement of that day is still there. Honestly, at the start of the championship we feel very close to the fans, and this is important for further growth.
Looking back, what players did you look up to before you turned professional?
I have always looked up to Xabi Alonso, both because he plays in my position and because of his characteristics. Then, after many years, I focused on Toni Kroos. It was a real luxury for me to be able to learn from him while I had the opportunity to train with the first team.
Did you always know that you wanted to become a footballer?
Not at all. Yes, it is true that my family loves football very much, but I played out of passion. Burning off milestones slowly made me believe that I would have the opportunity to commit to this. The turning point was joining the Real Madrid youth academy.
And finally, what do you do in your free time?
My partner and I really enjoy walking around Vitoria with our dog. The people here are very respectful and this allows us to lead a normal life that is difficult for other colleagues.