Fast forward a couple of frustrating seasons in 2nd place without any trophies.
Some quick highlights:
- In 2020 Man City activated Inaki Williams' 67M release clause. I was heartbroken.
- With the Williams money I signed Aymeric Laporte back from Chelsea. At Chelsea he developed into the best CB in the world, winning the CL and Euro 2020. His love for Athletic turned out to be unconditional.
- Sociedad darling Oyarzabal went to Juve in 2020 and flopped. In 2021 I was able to bring him back to Basqueland for 25M. He turned into an absolute star.
- Same goes for Inigo Martinez. He's currently rotating with Laporte/Javi Martinez.
- Kepa returned from a four year Premier League stint with Everton and Swansea to replace Ruffier.
- I haven't been able to do anything in the CL. In six years I only reached the QF twice.
And then, I finally won my second La Liga title in 2021-2022. Griezmann won the Ballon d'Or in 2021, an amazing feat for an Athletic player. In two seasons with Athletic he scored 56 goals and provided 36 assists. It's all about Griezmann. He's 31 now, but I hope he can maintain this level for at least two or three more years. His natural fitness is at 15, so he should be fine.
The old-timers are performing really well for me. Ander Herrera just had the best season of his entire career, scoring 22 goals in La Liga. He's 32. Maestro. Javi Martinez is getting slow, he needs to be replaced soon, but luckily I have some decent regens. Monreal retired.
I was lucky to get these amazing Basque regens, potential world stars. The future of Athletic:
Iago Garcia already finished as my top goalscorer last season in a title winning year. He's also an amazing passer and provided 20+ assists. Insane for a 19 year old. Griezmann's successor.
This is my current line-up for 2022-2023:
My only real problem is at LB. There are no decent Basque LB's left. Azpilicueta is old and slow and wants to be top earner.
Otherwise just beautiful play.