Athletic Club Bilbao
B/R is starting the week with a new segment dedicated to La Liga. It will be a weekly feature about one team in La Liga called "Team of the Week".
The intention is to review the team that was selected, the reason for being selected and background (if necessary) about it. After a review of the team, it would be selected as the La Liga BBVA Team of the Week.
It is a hoped that La Liga BBVA Team of the Week becomes a popular segment in B/R. After reviewing the different teams, Athletic Club Bilbao has the honor of being the first recipient of the La Liga BBVA Team of the Week.
The reasons are the following: the decision to select a club that does not receive much publicity, its illustrious history and the latest news.
Lack of Publicity
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are the main clubs of La Liga, but they are not the only ones. La Liga is composed of 18 other clubs, including Athletic Club Bilbao according to the table in ESPN.
It would have been easier to select La Blaugrana and Los Merengues for the La Liga BBVA Team of the Week. The selection of the two most important teams would not have done justice to other La Liga clubs that receive little or no publicity outside of Spain.
The time has come to give publicity to the other clubs of La Liga outside of Spain. The reason is that they deserve to have their story told.
A Brief History
The history of Athletic Club Bilbao begins with the arrival of merchants from Great Britain in the late 19th century, according to FIFA. The merchants brought their sports, including football, to the Basque Country of Spain.
The club (also known as Los Leones or The Lions) was founded in 1901 and evolved into one of the most successful clubs in La Liga. Athletic Club Bilbao was the home of Pichichi Moreno, whose name adorns the Pichichi trophy awarded to the top player who scores in La Liga.
Athletic Club Bilbao has won one Spanish Super Cup, eight Spanish Championships, and 24 Spanish Cups. They also defeated Real Madrid in 1958 during the Copa Del Rey (Copa Del Generalisimo in honor of then Spanish ruler Francisco Franco) at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Leones made history last spring by defeating Manchester United in the 2011-2012 UEFA Europa League season. The result left Manchester United out of a cup final for the first time in a decade.
The team is currently playing in the 2012-2013 UEFA Europa League and is ranked 42nd in the UEFA Scales. It plays their local matches in San Mames or La Catedral (The Cathedral) which is one of the oldest stadiums in Spain.
Athletic Club Bilbao have the following legendary players besides Moreno. The names of Victorio Unamuno, Jose Angel Iribar, Andoni Zubizarreta, Iker Muniain, and Fernando Llorente are associated with the club.
Athletic Club Bilbao is (at the present tense) the center of stories about Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez leaving the club. Fernando Llorente (according to a report by vozpopuli with a h/t to ESPN Soccernet) expressed a desire to leave the club after irreconcilable differences with Marcelo Bielsa, who is the current manager.
The result has been that the club's fans supposedly booed Llorente during a UEFA Europa League qualifying match against NK Slaven Belupo of Croatia. Llorente later said (in an article published itasportpress.it in a h/t to Goal) that he was happy with Athletic Club Bilbao.
At the same time, Correire Dello Sport in a h/t to Goal reports interest in Llorente from Juventus. The Daily Telegraph in a h/t to Goal reported that Llorente's agent talked about interest from English Clubs.
Additionally, Martinez was linked to a move to Manchester City, according to Goal. It remains to be seen how the latest news about Llorente and Martinez will transpire.
While Athletic Club Bilbao weathered a lot of drama during the transfer window, it's moving forward. Los Leones are concentrating on their next match against HJK in the UEFA Europa League playoffs.
I would like to thank the B/R readers for your time in the first La Liga Team of the Week article. My best wishes to all of you until the next time.