Javi Martínez driven by desire to make history
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
One of the most successful teams in the history of Spanish football, Athletic Club have never won a European trophy, something Javi Martínez is determined to change on Wednesday.
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Multiple winners of the Liga and Copa del Rey and one of only three teams never to have been relegated from the Spanish top flight, Athletic Club boast a proud history.
Yet the one thing that has eluded Los Leones down the years is a European trophy, something midfielder Javi Martínez intends to put right in Wednesday's UEFA Europa League final against domestic rivals Club Atlético de Madrid.
The match in Bucharest will be Athletic's second continental decider, Juventus having beaten them on away goals in the 1977 UEFA Cup showpiece. "We are one of the most important clubs in the Spanish league, and not only there because very few teams in the world have stayed in the first division throughout their entire history," Martínez told UEFA.com.
"If a club like this has never won a European trophy and they have a chance now, that could be a great memory to cherish for eternity. We need to be aware of that, so that we regard this final as something historic."
Javi Martínez has reason to be optimistic ahead of the game, and not just because Athletic have already beaten Atlético comprehensively this term, 3-0 at San Mamés in the sides' first meeting of the season. "They're a club that I've been lucky against because I've scored three goals," said the 23-year-old.
"I don't score many but I've got three against them, so hopefully I'll be able to repeat that in the final. They're a difficult club to play against because since the arrival of [Diego] Simeone they have started to play very aggressively. They're very hard to beat."
Victory at the National Arena would be a fitting end to a campaign in which Marcelo Bielsa's charges have won plaudits for an attacking modus operandi which has proved too much for the likes of Manchester United FC and FC Schalke 04 to contend with.
"After a hard start to the season, when we didn't win any of our first five [league] matches, we've had a great recovery," added forward Markel Susaeta. "From that moment on, we've played the football that we were striving for."
Watch the video above to hear the full interviews with Javi Martínez and Susaeta.