July 23, 2024 | 11:06


The day Asier Villalibre was able to sign for FC Barcelona

Jesus Carames

January 23, 2024 | 2:46 p.m.

In the summer of 2019, FC Barcelona was on the verge of incorporate Asier Villalibre, an operation that generated great expectations but never materialized. This movement, promoted by García Pimienta, sought reinforce the attack of the Barcelona subsidiary, but was met with the refusal of Rafa Alkorta, athletic director of Athletic Club.

A signing that promised but never materialized

Asier Villalibre, at that time a promise at Athletic Club, caught the attention of Barcelona for its reserve team. The idea was for the forward to play in Second Division B, with the possibility of training with the first team and, perhaps, climbing positions. However, this plan was frustrated by various factors.

García Pimienta's proposal was an opportunity for Villalibre

García Pimienta, coach of Barça B, had an express request in Villalibre to strengthen his forward line. Despite having offers from the Second Division, the young forward was open to Barça's proposal, attracted by the possibility of growing in an environment like the Camp Nou.

Rafa Alkorta and his final decision

The refusal of Rafa Alkorta, Athletic's sports director, was decisive. Alkorta was not willing to allow Villalibre to play in the same category as the Athletic reserve team. His strategic vision and desire to retain the talented forward in Bilbao played a key role in the outcome of this story.

Villalibre's dilemma was the second division or La Masía

Villalibre was at a crossroads: continue at Athletic with offers from the Second Division or try his luck in the Barça reserve team. The possibility of training with the Barcelona first team and the projection that this could offer him were attractive, but he also had to weigh his loyalty and the sporting project at Athletic.

The signing that could have changed his career

This frustrated signing could have meant a turn in Villalibre's career. The experience at Barça B and the opportunity to be close to the Barça first team could have offered a different path in his development as a footballer.

Villalibre's non-signing for Barcelona left several lessons. In football, the decisions of managers and coaches can change the destiny of the players. Furthermore, this case reflects how the interests of clubs and footballers sometimes conflict, requiring a delicate balance between the professional and the personal.

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