SportsLa Real is in fashion

La Real is in fashion


The Real coach, Imanol Alguacil, and the president, Jokin Aperribay, after winning the Copa del Rey last April in Seville.David S. Bustamante / Soccrates (Getty Images)

Jokin Aperribay (Deva, Gipuzkoa, 55 years old) played as a goalkeeper. A long time ago, a great performance by him led to his team, Zumaiako, promoted to Third. From his area, he watched football with a different perspective from the rest of the players. Perhaps like Roberto Olabe (Vitoria, 54 years old), sports director of Real Sociedad, the man who has put together the structure of the leader of the League (this Sunday, against Atlético; 21.00, Movistar), and who also played as a goalkeeper . Two former goalkeepers who run a club of great goalkeepers who marked times, such as Luis Arconada.

In the case of Aperribay, another circumstance is also added. He comes from a family that runs the second oldest company in Spain after Codorniú. The SAPA was founded in Soraluze (Gipuzkoa) in 1573, the same year that the Spanish troops surrendered Haarlem, or in which Caravaggio, the master of tenebrism, was born. Long-term projects do not scare the president of the Real: “The process has been developing little by little. It seems to me that we had to talk about many aspects: mentality, economic, sports or social issues. Investing in all of them does not mean that sports results will arrive immediately, although you cannot live without them, ”he points out in conversation with EL PAÍS. “We have grown in the development of methodologies, we have invested in sports aspects, we have grown in the social issue and in the ability to sign players who now want to come.”

“We must be the best club from Monday to Friday,” says President Aperribay

Aperribay reaffirms his convictions, which have established the Royal in the noble zone: “Without a doubt, it has been necessary to work with method and patience. We have been with the project for 13 years. You don’t build a field if you don’t have it well studied, and you can’t sign Isak if there’s no financial capacity. For all this, clear ideas are needed and we have worked with many people behind it ”.

Roberto Olabe reaffirms the beliefs of its president. “Olabe is the sports general director and his vision of football is complete. We fully trust him. His way of conceiving La Real coincides with ours ”.

For Olabe, the goal is to compete with his boys in the elite. “The vocation is deeply rooted and is none other than promoting the development of footballers,” he says. Since 2017, 16 players trained in Zubieta have made it to the first team, nine of them born since 2000. Only in goal – what a paradox – those who acted, Remiro and Ryan, came from outside.

The exponential growth of the Real has also been produced by the remodeling of Anoeta: “To continue in a stadium with athletics tracks was to have a second speed field that was not going to be able to compete in the medium term with other clubs such as Sevilla, Villarreal , Athletic, Betis … If we stayed as we were, we were going to look at them from behind. The fact of adding more than 36,000 members and the proximity of the stands has been very important ”, explains Aperribay.

Since 2017 up to 16 players from the house have debuted in First

The work on recruiting players, training and the fact that the Real prime the studies of its players has also added. Oyarzabal has a degree in Business Administration. Guevara is one step away from finishing Law; Zubimendi and Aihen Muñoz study IVEF (Physical Education), and Barrenetxea, Teaching. In the female, Maddi Torre leaves her eyelashes in the Faculty of Medicine. In the lower teams, there are 39 university students. All the players of the third team study Baccalaureate and pass, and the club promotes this path with eight teachers in Zubieta. “The idea that they should and can combine studies and football is something that we emphasize,” says the president. “We do a handicraft work. I don’t know any architect who is 12 years old and the same thing happens with the players ”, says Olabe. “We want to turn adolescents into footballers and there is no better way to measure the impacts than to analyze the data obtained from the permanent evaluation. You have to have a transversal look ”, he says.

Win the Cup

Many people work in Zubieta. Among them Bixente Calzón and Alfonso Azurza, who control the big data. They know all the data of the players. They run the Evaluation and Data Unit, which was set up four years ago and centralizes the information of the club’s professionals on a platform: doctors, psychologists, technicians, nutritionists and educators. “We have to take advantage of this sweet moment to gain momentum,” proclaims Aperribay. “Team C was promoted; the second team is in Second [el único filial de un Primera en esa categoría] and the women finished fifth the previous season and now they are second after Barça ”, he relates. “We cannot stop pedaling. Our motto is that we have to be the best club in the world from Monday to Friday. There are other more powerful teams that may think of being the best on Sundays, but to get as close as possible, our work during the week must be impeccable. “

In this way, after 38 years, the Real won a title again. Aperribay smiles: “Winning the Cup was spectacular because it was also against Athletic. It would have been much better with the two intertwined hobbies. My mother is from Ondarroa, and my uncles are from Athletic. My wife is from Bilbao. We had the responsibility of knowing how to play a final after a year waiting and we knew how to do it ”.

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