Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Athletic´s Laporte not distracted by Barcelona visit

SoccerNews in General Soccer News, La Liga 24 Aug 2016

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Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte has reiterated his commitment to the club ahead of this weekend’s match against LaLiga champions Barcelona.

The 22-year-old French centre-back was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City earlier this year before in June signing a contract extension running though to 2020.

Barca are rumoured to retain admiration for the ball-playing centre-back but, ahead of Luis Enrique’s men visiting San Mames on Sunday, Laporte insisted his focus is not about to waver.

“I have shown my commitment for Athletic Club in recent years and I’m not thinking about anything more than Athletic,” he told a news conference.

“I’m very happy, I’ve said a lot of times and I’m still here. 

“I think the fans are very happy with my decision and I’m happy with them all too.”

Athletic suffered a surprise opening weekend loss to Sporting Gijon and Laporte expects the going to be tough against Barcelona, despite Neymar being absent once again as he prepares for Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers early next month.

“Barca is a tough opponent to beat,” he said. “They have achieved many trophies and have finished first many times. 

“They are a rival to be reckoned with, but we must try to win that game like any other.

“This team has very good players still [without Neymar]. All their players have a very high level.

“We have to fight for every moment of the match to try to get something in this game.”

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