Unai Simón

Unai Simón Mendibil (Basque: [unai s̺imon]; Spanish: [uˈnaj siˈmon];born 11 June 1997) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Athletic Bilbao.

Unai Simón
Unai Simón Mendibil.jpg
Simón with Spain U18s in 2015
Personal information
Full name Unai Simón Mendibil
Date of birth (1997-06-11) 11 June 1997 (age 23)
Place of birth Vitoria, Spain
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position(s) Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Athletic Bilbao
Number 1
Youth career
Aurrerá Vitoria
2011–2014 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2014–2016 Basconia 36 (0)
2016–2018 Bilbao Athletic 58 (0)
2018– Athletic Bilbao 41 (0)
National team
2013 Spain U16 1 (0)
2015 Spain U18 3 (0)
2015–2016 Spain U19 4 (0)
2017–2019 Spain U21 10 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 July 2020
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16 June 2019

Club careerEdit

Simón was born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Basque Country, and joined Athletic Bilbao's youth system in 2011, from CD Aurrerá de Vitoria.[1] He made his debut as a senior with the farm team in the 2014–15 season, in Tercera División.

On 8 June 2016, Simón was promoted to the reserves, freshly relegated to Segunda División B.[2] He immediately became a starter for the side, contributing with 29 appearances during the campaign.

On 2 June 2017, Simón was called up to the main squad for the pre-season by new first team manager José Ángel Ziganda,[3] but continued to appear exclusively for the Bs. On 13 July 2018, he signed a contract extension until 2023,[4] and was loaned to Segunda División side Elche CF two weeks later.[5]

On 15 August 2018, after Kepa Arrizabalaga's departure from the club and Iago Herrerín's injury, Simón was recalled by Athletic.[6] He initially appeared to be behind the older Álex Remiro in the queue for selection,[7] but made his professional – and La Liga – debut five days later, starting in a 2–1 home win against CD Leganés.[8][9] In just his third league appearance for Athletic Bilbao, Simón played in a 1–1 draw with Real Madrid where he made several key saves and was named player of the match.[10] However, when Herrerín regained full fitness in October 2018 he was made the starting goalkeeper, with Simón's only appearances over the subsequent four months coming in the Copa del Rey.

For the 2019–20 season, Simón was given the #1 squad number and began the campaign as first choice, keeping a clean sheet in an opening day win over FC Barcelona.[11] He continued his strong form throughout the season, missing two fixtures with illness and completing 33 matches in the league, conceding 29 goals[12] to finish third in the Zamora Trophy rankings.[13] On the 37th, penultimate, matchday, he was sent off during the first half against CD Leganés for a 'last man' challenge outside the penalty area, with the resultant suspension ending his season a game early; with ten men, Athletic Bilbao lost 2–0 to end their slim hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.[14]

International careerEdit

Simón has been selected for Spain at under-19 and under-21 levels. He was a member of the squad that won the 2015 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, albeit as the backup goalkeeper to Antonio Sivera during the tournament.[15]

On 1 September 2017, Simón debuted with the under-21 team against Italy.[16] He was selected for the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, playing the first game of the group stage as Spain once more finished as champions (Sivera was again first-choice).[17][18]

Simón received his first call up to the senior side on 20 August 2020, for the initial two matches of the 2020–21 UEFA Nations League.[19]

HonoursEdit

Spain U19

Spain U21

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Entrevista a Unai Simon" [Interview to Unai Simon] (in Spanish). La Cantera de Lezama. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Leaving Basconia". Athletic Bilbao. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Preseason with the premier team". Athletic Bilbao. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Renewal of Unai Simón". Athletic Bilbao. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Unai Simón on-loan to Elche CF". Athletic Bilbao. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Recovery of Unai Simón". Athletic Bilbao. 15 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  7. ^ Ortiz de Lazcano, Javier (8 August 2018). "La salida de Kepa facilita la continuidad de Remiro" [Kepa's departure makes it easier for Remiro to continue]. El Correo (in Spanish). Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  8. ^ Zubieta, Jon (21 August 2018). "Simón debuta con un paradón providencial" [Simón debuts with a providential save] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  9. ^ García, Óscar (21 August 2018). "Muniain gives Berizzo his first win as Athletic Club coach". Marca. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  10. ^ Ruthven, Graham (15 September 2018). "Isco goal salvages point for Real Madrid away to Athletic Bilbao". Eurosport. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Athletic Bilbao 1–0 Barcelona". BBC Sport. 17 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Matches Unai Simón (filters: 2019-20 season, La Liga, Athletic Club)". BDFutbol. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  13. ^ Zamora de LaLiga Santander 2019 - 2020, Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 September 2020
  14. ^ "Leganés wins against Athletic at San Mamés and is still alive (0-2)". CD Leganés. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  15. ^ a b Villapun, Jon (22 July 2015). "El portero del Basconia Unai Simón gana el Europeo sub'19 con España" [Basconia goalkeeper Unai Simón wins the U19 European Championship with Spain]. Bidebieta (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Selección de España: España da un repaso a Italia" [Spanish national team: Spain reviews Italy]. Marca.com (in Spanish). 1 September 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  17. ^ "La Quinta de Oro" [The Golden Fifth]. Marca.com (in Spanish). 30 June 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Spain U21 2–1 Germany U21". 30 June 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  19. ^ "OFICIAL | Lista de convocados de la Selección española para los partidos de la UEFA Nations League ante Alemania y Ucrania" [OFFICIAL | List of called-up players by the Spain national team for the UEFA Nations League matches against Germany and Ukraine] (in Spanish). SEFutbol. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.

External linksEdit