Asier Illarramendi spoke to the press this morning, alongside Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperriba,y to announce his move to Real Madrid. “I was on holiday when I heard about Madrid’s interest in me. They made contact and made a proposal. I talked it through with my inner circle and I reached the conclusion that it was a unique proposal and opportunity and an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s been difficult to make this decision but I think it’s the right one. It’s not been easy, I’ve struggled with it. ‘La Real’ have given me everything, I am entirely grateful to them. It’s been 11 or 12 years, but the decision wasn’t easy at all. I want to say thank you to the club for everything they have given me. When I arrived here I was a boy and I am leaving as a man. I’d like to say thank you to the president and all the directors. To the coaches in the youth system and all my team mates who have helped me so much and been so understanding. I think they will do well in the future. I’d also say thank you to the new coaching team; they will do well and achieve great things. I’ve talked to my agents and there is nothing else to say”.
You said you wouldn’t wear another strip... “I’ll always have this club in my heart, but I’ve always been a realist, I always will be, and I received this offer and I believe it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’ve thought about it a lot and from a footballing point of view it’s irresistible.
The fans: “I’m grateful for all the love they’ve shown me. Over these past few years I’ve tried to give everything to the club. This has all been too much for me. I’ll also try and do my best in Madrid”.
Madrid: “It will be different, there’ll be more media coverage. I’ll try my best, and we’ll see how it goes. I’ll work as hard as I can in training and if I get the chance to play I’ll give it my all as well. I love Real Sociedad, but I had to take a decision and obviously I’m excited about Real Madrid too”.
How did you feel during your last training session: “I’m grateful to all the fans who went to Zubieta to encourage me. I will have fond memories of the fans because they’ve looked after me and given me so much. I’ve felt close to them and all I can feel is gratitude to them”.
Facing your old team-mates: “It will be very special and a good sign...”