The image of Asier Villalibre (Gernika, 25 years old) with his long and unkempt beard, playing the trumpet after beating Barcelona in the Super Cup final, went around the world and became a meme, and even the object of ridicule when shortly after, Alex Remiro, a Real Sociedad goalkeeper with a rojiblanco past, mocked the Athletic striker after the Cup final between the two Basque teams. Then he apologized, among other things, because Villalibre, whom his coach nicknamed him as a boy The Buffalo Due to his way of attacking his rivals, he is a person without bending; the same on the field as outside it. Capable of summarizing in three words, with an unmistakable accent from Bizkaia plus Basque, the red card that Lionel Messi received for slapping him: “It has been angry”.
If before it was the Athletic fans who had, and continue to have, enormous affection for him, in just six months at Alaves he has managed to make the Mendizorroza stands surrender at his feet. He made his lucky debut in the derby against Eibar in Vitoria. Luis Garcia Plaza put him on the field in the 62nd minute, and seven minutes later he ended the game with a header from a Luis Rioja pass. Minutes later he scored the second for his team and began to have a place in the hearts of the fans of Alava, who every time he steps onto the field receives him with the ovations that he reserves for his idols.
Very recently, on the last day of the regular season, Villalibre left the field in tears. A victory would have given Alaves direct promotion, and he had the clearest chance for his team, after a great run and going hand in hand with Alvaro Valles, who that afternoon was the hero of the promotion of Union Deportiva Las Palms. Alaves had the bullet left from the playoffs, left Eibar in the gutter and in the final, Levante, who failed to score a goal in both league games, nor in the first leg of the final in Mendizorroza. Neither in 128 minutes of the second game. The tie amounted to the Valencians, but Laguardia, in the talk prior to the game, had told his teammates: “A friend told me that this team is a specialist in messing things up in extreme situations.” His words were prophetic. In the penultimate play, a hand that discovered the VAR changed history forever. Luis Rioja was going to throw it away, but Villalibre approached him, with his astonishing tranquility, and told him: “I’ll throw it away.” He caught the ball, deceived Femenias and went on to have a place in the history of Glorioso.
Later he explained it, simply, and confessed that he would play the trumpet in Vitoria, “not here, out of respect for the Levante fans”. The Beards, his teammates at Alaves call him, where he landed on his feet and immediately made a place for himself in the dressing room, because he has never been a football diva, despite the fact that he was one of the most promising players in the Athletic youth academy. He made his debut at the age of 17 in the subsidiary, the season in which he was promoted to the Second Division, but he missed the trip to Murcia to play against UCAM, in the middle of the qualifiers, because he had the university entrance exams. “Training comes first. He is a sensational kid, but there are more important things, ”said his coach, Cuco Ziganda. He had previously excelled at Basconia, also an Athletic subsidiary, with 20 goals in 34 games.
He made his debut in the Second Division with Bilbao Athletic, and then embarked on various assignments to Numancia, Lorca and Valladolid, which he accepted without question but which did not go entirely well. He returned to Athletic, he scored the goal in minute 90 that took the Super Cup final to extra time, he played the trumpet there, on the pitch, and with the Orsai group, made up of Athletic players. He is still a normal boy, who does not choose exotic places for his vacations, but rather prefers festivals in Gernika to play with a brass band, or plays goalkeeper in a children’s game.
Various muscle injuries relegated him to a secondary role at Athletic, and in his last renewal he accepted a new assignment, that of Alaves, so he left the number 20 that he inherited from Aduriz, and now, after another decisive goal, he will play the trumpet before thousands of albiazules followers in the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca. Victoria adores him.
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Source: EL PAIS