Dani Vivian: “I haven’t felt nerves yet, but they will come” | Soccer | Sports


In principle, Daniel Vivian (Vitoria, 24 years old) was not going to play at the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday, because Ernesto Valverde reserved him for the final in Seville, but that’s the way the game is, so after Yeray’s injury he had to appear on the grass from the 25th minute. More workload for one of the fixtures in Athletic’s lineup throughout the season, and who is experiencing crazy weeks after making his debut with the Spanish team. “Having been concentrated with the national team along with a few other Athletic players helps a lot to make you feel good,” he says. “You are not alone when you arrive. But then you also see that it is an impressive group. Everyone makes you feel integrated from the first moment.”

His progress in the center of the red and white defense, where he has made Iñigo Martínez forget, is making him enjoy it. “I feel very good, everything has gone perfect with the national team, I have felt very supported by all my teammates. Many have wished me luck for the final,” he responds to EL PAÍS, on the eve of what, for the moment, is going to be the most important match of his career. “Sure. For repercussion, for what it means, without a doubt. I had not considered it until now, but we have to give him the dimension that he has.”

In front will be Javier Aguirre’s Mallorca. “We arrived with humility, respect for our rival and a lot of work. “That’s what we’re about, that’s what we’ve set out to do and we’ll fight to win it.”

For Dani Vivian, on Saturday, “it is not a game like the others, your track record in the League is of no use. It will have nothing to do with the fact that we are better classified than Mallorca. Each of us will play with our idea of ​​football, and there are also the nerves, the tension of playing in a final, so we must be prepared.”

One of Athletic’s greatest successes this season is its defensive work. Between the Cup and the League, the team has kept a clean sheet in twenty games, because, “it is our way of playing, of interpreting football. We are a block to attack and defend. We look strong defensively.”

One of the characteristics that the rojiblanco central defender’s coaches highlight most is his ability to concentrate in games. He is an old-fashioned defender, always vigilant. “Yes, I concentrate a lot on the games. There are many phases within the game, sometimes you dominate, other times you are dominated, and you cannot let yourself fall when it is the other team that has the initiative. “You have to be mentally strong.”

Furthermore, he is a leader. He was in Mirandés, in which he became captain at the age of 20, although, “it is not about being the leader of the group or not being one.” And he adds: “I think that the more leaders there are on a team, the better, because that is the best way to grow, for each person to push with what they have. This way the whole group feels safer. There are people who have the self-confidence to lead a team. Whoever wants to take that role, he takes it.” And age, according to Dani Vivian, has nothing to do with it. “It’s a matter of character too. It doesn’t have so much to do with age”, although, “veterans bring that experience, having gone through many situations and passing them on to those of us who have less than them.”

He is a very mature footballer, agree those who trained him first in Vitoria, then in Bilbao. He did not leave his studies for football when Athletic hired him. He has his parents as his best references, and believes that he can learn from all experiences in life. “The loan to Mirandés made me grow so I could return to Athletic and try to get a position, and play in the elite,” because, he says, it is his “way of seeing football.” “I have always prepared myself to arrive in the best conditions for the next chapters of my career,” he adds. The last one, Athletic, which is a special club, and not to say it too many times is going to distort that condition. “In this club they have made me see virtues that perhaps I didn’t think I had, and analyze my mistakes to be able to correct them.”

After three years in the First Division, Dani Vivian knows the pressures that exist in the football elite, and works hard to avoid being surpassed. In principle, he assures that “I avoid reading anything that is written about me,” although, “sometimes my father teaches me some things that he likes.” Furthermore, mental work, “is something that, at least in my case, you have been doing since I was little,” but, “It is clear that it is the situations that you go through that teach you, that help you correct if you are wrong and that They also help you have confidence in how you think and how you act.” He didn’t wait until he was older to face it. “Since I was little I have tried to work on many of these issues.” In some cases, “with the help of my family, the people around me,” and also, “with my own work.” That does not prevent us from “all having downturns or disappointments. The physical state you are going through also has its weight at times.” In short, “we are people with joys and sorrows, although I always try to be optimistic.”

Vivian says that he owes a lot to Marcelino García Toral, now at Villarreal, and Ernesto Valverde, his current coach at Athletic, a team with a defined identity with Txingurri on the bench. “I think we have a very recognizable team,” he says. “We press in the opposite field and take risks, but we take them because we know what we can do when we steal high.” As far as his sphere of influence is concerned, “I think that in defense we are firm when we have to retreat. And we are a very supportive team. Furthermore, we have that physical and mental level to be able to achieve what we are achieving. And we don’t want to go down from there.”

Until now he has not been nervous thinking about the final, because, “the best way to prepare for it is to go step by step. Until the game against Real Madrid I have only thought about the League. Then there is a week to be able to prepare well for the final. I haven’t felt nerves or anything like that yet, but they will come”, because, after all, “it is my first final, and I know that the pressure will come, that there will be nerves, but I trust in my work, in that of my teammates, in the team’s game so that they are minimized and we feel comfortable on the field.”

Dani Vivian assures that the road to the final has been pleasant, “because we have arrived based on conviction, desire and work.” According to the red and white player, “nothing needs to change in this last week. If the results have been with us it is because the work is good”, and he points out: “The way to get to the Seville game well is to work as we have done throughout the season”.

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