Oyarzabal challenges the Deschamps musketeers at their sweetest moment

Mikel Oyarzabal, during the Nations League semi-final against Italy. / EFE

Nations league

The Gipuzkoan has become an important component of La Roja’s offensive gear, after signing an explosive start to the season

Óscar Bellot

ÓSCAR BELLOT Special Envoy to Milan

Saturday, 9 October 2021, 00:19

Mikel Oyarzabal is going through the sweetest moment of his career. The versatile Real Sociedad footballer is signing an explosive first leg of the season that has made him one of the men of the moment in the League and also in the Spanish team, which is preparing in Milan to face a major challenge on Sunday against France in the final of the League of Nations.

The reigning world champion will go to San Siro led by Benzema, Mbappé and Griezmann, three musketeers who make up a fearsome forward, as Belgium could see in their own flesh on Thursday in Turin. But Oyarzabal is not intimidated. He and his teammates exude confidence after dismounting Italy and breaking their extraordinary 37-game series undefeated.

That match, in which La Roja fell in love again at times with its freshness and self-confidence, have filled the Gipuzkoan with optimism, who awaits the appointment without complexes. «It is clear that they are very great players and we know their level, but we must not be afraid of anything. You have to respect a great team but we also have a great team and if we are right we will have a chance of winning, “he said at a press conference this Friday.

Although Ferran Torres, with his two goals, and Gavi, who showed an astonishing poise for a 17-year-old debutant, captured a good part of the prominence in the analysis after the clash with Azzurra, Oyarzabal was also decisive in distributing the assists that preceded the the many of the Valencian. Two services full of precision and sharpness that serve to endorse the full state that it enjoys.

In the ten games played with Real Sociedad so far this year, the Eibar has scored six goals and assisted in another. Figures that have been decisive for the ‘txuri urdin’ team to have risen to the top of the League, where they share the lead with Real Madrid and Atlético. To those numbers we must add the two goal passes he gave on Wednesday at the San Siro. Therefore, six goals and three assists have been counted since the start of the campaign by the Basque, who has become a luxury wild card for both Imanol Alguacil and Luis Enrique.

Oyarzabal has played 12 of the 20 games that he counts as international under the Asturian coach, who takes advantage of his versatility to place him in any area of ​​the offensive front. Against Italy it was a pylon hammer on the right, where he formed a lethal duo with Marcos Alonso. They tormented Giovanni Di Lorenzo over and over again, taking advantage of Federico Chiesa’s lack of defensive commitment. When Roberto Mancini wanted to plug that waterway, La Roja was already in command.

But the Eibar has also officiated other times as a false nine and started from the left. It offers solutions of all kinds, since its nose adds work, ambition and a global vision of the game. In addition, the responsibility does not weigh on him.

A silky left-hander

Erected for a long time as a symbol of the Royal Society, he is taking steps to become one of the great references of La Roja, where he marries perfectly with Ferran Torres, Dani Olmo or Pablo Sarabia because they are all very dynamic attackers who appear wherever less are expected. A footballer profile that Luis Enrique loves, the multitasker par excellence in the days when the man from Gijón wore shorts.

Oyarzabal recognizes that it is not easy to internalize the continuous swaps demanded by the coach, but he assumes that he has no choice but to answer where they ask him, aware of the demand and of the hierarchies of the national team: «Like it or not, many times it is what you have to do and what you have to know how to do. Here in the national team, although there are many young people, there are also veterans and others are getting into the dynamic. The time will come when I have to take that step forward but as I did in La Real, naturally, “he emphasizes.

The same one with which he will look into the eyes of the French defenders on Sunday, who will have a serious threat in his left-handed silk. “If we are focused as against Italy, we know that we will have a chance of winning,” Oyarzabal stressed this Friday, acknowledging that Spain is not interested in a round-trip duel that, a priori, would favor the verticality and electricity of the forwards who have the ‘bleus’. “If we draw a game plan, nobody would do it with many turnovers or transitions. We have our ideas and our weapons, “he emphasized.




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