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Goitia: "I believe this will unite us more as a society and we’ll continue to help each other”

Extensive chat with Iñaki Goitia in which we find out more about the former Blue and White goalkeeper.

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26/04/2020 12:33

The current coach of Málaga CF’s Cadete División de Honor talks to us in his typically humble, modest manner. A sincere, authentic person, in short, a really good guy.

We know about your career as a player and now youth team coach. On a personal note, who is Iñaki Goitia?

I think of myself as a calm person, much like everyone else. I like going to the cinema, watching TV, spending time with family and friends…I always enjoy myself, I’m lucky to love what I do. I like having free time over the weekend, free afternoons, travelling…

You’ve spent a lot of time in Málaga, in two lengthy stages. Do you feel like a Malagueno?

I do feel I’ve identified myself here. I matured a lot whilst in Málaga, I met my wife and mother of my children. From a professional point of view, I also grew up a lot here. Everyone treated me so well when I arrived, and still do now. Málaga society is highly appreciative, supportive and very open in terms of feelings.

From Cruces, you were born in Baracaldo and are from Portugalete, featuring big names in Basque Country football like the legendary Javi Clemente and Julen Guerrero, is that right?

I was born in Cruces, in Baracaldo, and until the age of 18 I lived in Portugalete. That’s where the Guerrero family is, with Julen, José Félix and younger brother, Unai. I was lucky enough to live on the same street, my parents knew their parents. I’m younger than Julen, I’m closer in age to Unai, and when I was younger, I used to see the brothers on the street. Roberto Ríos was also in the same town, and I coincided with him at Betis in Pepe Mel’s medical team. I also met Julen Guerrero at The Academy when he brought his son, Jon Julen to train, we used to meet up and chat.

Is the legend true that says all goalkeepers (former keeper in your case) are a bit crazy?

It used to be said a lot, but I never thought so. In the past there was a stereotype of goalkeepers who because of their extravagances, it was assumed they were different to everyone else. It’s a very specific role to play, a role has always been viewed differently, but I don’t consider the term refers to goalkeepers.

During your time as a player at the Club, there was a lot of talk about how unusual your car was in the world of football. What happened to that Volkswagen Golf?

I had a great deal of affection for that car. I asked for my very first loan to be able to buy it. It still gets driven around, my brother has it now. He works outside Spain and every time he comes back, he has the car available to him. When he isn’t here my mum uses it. It still gets used and when I go to Bilbao, to Portugalete, I like to go for a drive in it.

Have you kept in touch with former Málaga teammates over the years? Who’s you best friend in football?

Equipment managers, medics…I have a very good relationship with them, and we worry about how the family is doing. I have many friends here in Málaga. In regard to players, Calata’, Manolo Gaspar, Duda…also Juanito, then Nacho, as we coincided in Málaga B and Betis, where we had both good and bad times. If I had to name one it would be Juanma, from Del Benito; we were on the same team, Málaga B and later on met up again with Betis and Alavés in Vitoria. We’re very similar people and we usually get together every summer for dinner and a catch-up. I have so many friends from the world of football, I can’t name them all.

The First Division promotion in the 07/08 campaign was possibly the best moment of your careeer. What special anecdote do you remember?

Sporting achievements are always special. One of them has to be that promotion with Málaga. I also enjoyed promotion with Betis and also salvation on the final matchday in Jaén with Alavés. It’s true that Málaga could be one of my best memories. It was wonderful, particularly because the entire city enjoyed the accomplishment with their team. Malaguistas were in the streets and you could really feel that Malaguismo.

Ok Iñaki, what do you like best, playing or coaching?

Without a doubt I prefer playing. Feeling a direct part of the match, training, the day to day. Football isn’t just about playing at the weekend, but about preparing for each match. I definitely prefer playing.

Which coaches left a mark on you? Which model of pay do you identify with and try to instil in your team?

In terms of how to approach a match, Víctor Fernández. I really like how he organised each task to achieve his desired model of play. How he viewed football. I hadn’t followed him too much, but I coincided with him at Betis. We had a great second round and missed out on First Division promotion by one goal. In the last year, three teams went up directly.

The important thing for us, within The Academy, is that the kids try to control all aspects in all phases of the game. It’s about strength in defence, being effective on the attack, maintaining good positioning to dominate play, having good attack-defence transitions… There are many models of play and you need to be on top of them. In the ‘cadetes’ we try to teach the lads what they’ll come up against as they advance. Málaga has some of the best players in the region and surrounding areas and the level is high. Keeping in mind that they are children, you offer certain guidelines so that the habit is instilled in them as they move to professional football. We have a clear example in The Academy, David Larrubia. His progression in recent years has been exceptional. He’s highly educated, his family are humble and he’s done extremely well.

You have many things going on apart from football. Tell us the most surprising, away from the usual footballer stereotype

I enjoy being with my people, family, friends. I like to stay focused, work hard, teach our children and those in our charge on the team, both in terms of sport and socially. I like to travel a lot, and when we have a bit more time I like to travel overseas.

Lastly, what opinion or reflection does the current global situation merit?

It’s affected everyone, brought the world to a standstill. It has given us a lot of time to think. We must focus on simple things. The importance of sectors such as health, cleaning, food…Sectors obliged to work so that society can continue. You only live once. The biological is the most important thing, it’s the foundation of this virus, which has caused immense damage to societies across the world in terms of health and the economy. Valuing that greeting, that ‘how are you’, that small comment… that unites society. I believe this will unite us more as a society and we’ll continue to help each other. We’ll come out of this stronger and nature will have taught us a very valuable lesson. We must focus on the here and now and get out of this situation as soon and as safely as possible. This will bring us together and we’ll come out stronger and reinforced as a society.

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