The Spanish national team managed to qualify for the semifinals of the European Cup after overcoming the Swiss resistance in the quarter-finals which took place at Krestovsky Stadium, Friday (3/7).
La Roja escaped with a 3-1 victory in the penalty shootout after playing 1-1 for 120 minutes. Their two executors, Sergio Busquets and Rodri, failed to break into Yann Sommer’s goal, fortunately their goalkeeper, Unai Simon, was able to perform fantastically.
The 24-year-old managed to become the hero of the victory after saving three penalties from Vladimir Petkovic’s squad.
This time 90MiN Indonesia will try to reveal five things you should know about Unai Simon. Here’s the full explanation.
Unai Simon decided to join Athletic Bilbao in 2011, he played for the youth team after previously playing for CD Aurrera in Victoria.
Simon made his debut in the 2014/15 season and played in the Tercera Division or the third division of Spanish football. It didn’t take long, the goalkeeper finally entered Bilbao’s reserves squad and appeared in 29 matches in his inaugural season.
Chelsea decided to break the transfer record when they brought in Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2018, he was bought for a price that reached 80 million euros.
Kepa’s departure turned out to be a blessing for Unai Simon, who was loaned to El Che, the Bilbao coach at the time. Jose Angel Ziganda decided to return him home.
Even though he was unable to compete with Iago Herrarin, now the 24-year-old goalkeeper has become an irreplaceable figure, even Unai Simon has also managed to get rid of David de Gea as La Roja’s main goalkeeper. Ironically, Kepa even showed a decline in performance at Chelsea, this made him no longer called up to the Spanish national team.
Unai Simon’s consistency with Athletic Bilbao has successfully earned him his first call-up to the Spanish senior national team in 2020, to be precise in August.
Unai Simon’s inaugural match with La Roja occurred in the match against the Netherlands, 12 November 2020, at that time Spain drew 1-1.
A goalkeeper usually does have an idol goalkeeper who is used as a role model in his career, as well as Unai Simon.
In an interview session with one of the Spanish media, Mundo Deportivo, Unai Simon admitted that he idolized Gianluigi Buffon.
“When I started to see the other goalkeepers, I was really impressed with the figure of Gianluigi Buffon. For me, he is a real man, both on and off the field.”
Unai Simon was promoted to the Bilbao main squad in 2018, but he only became the number one goalkeeper in the 2019/20 season.
In the first match, the 190 cm tall player managed to keep a clean sheet against Barcelona. Throughout the season, Unai Simon also conceded only 29 goals.
This makes him the third goalkeeper who has conceded the fewest goals in La Liga.