Saints prove friendly with La Liga Athletic Bilbao giants
SAINTS have announced that they will host historic La Liga side Athletic Club Bilbao in a pre-season friendly ahead of the start of the Premier League campaign.
The Spanish squad will travel to St Mary’s on Saturday August 7 (3pm), with Ralph Hasenhuttl looking to finalize preparations ahead of the trip to Goodison Park the following week.
Fans will be able to get a taste of what may be to come for the season ahead, with the club releasing ticket details later this week.
Athletic are the current Spanish Super Cup holders and reached the final of the prestigious Copa Del Rey, before losing to Barcelona, marking a 90th consecutive season in the Spanish top flight.
The two teams met in a friendly match in 2016 where Shane Long’s lone goal decided the proceedings, although the history between the clubs dates back much further than that.
British shipyard workers – many of them from Southampton – emigrated to work in Bilbao’s main industrial port, bringing football with them and founding Bilbao FC, one of the earliest forms of the current club.
Athletic are wearing red and white stripes after a club representative got hold of a new England kit and brought back 50 Saints jerseys, shared between Athletic and Atletico Madrid.
Fans can recognize a handful of Athletic players, with goalkeeper Unai Simon a penalty shootout hero for the European Championship semi-finalists in Spain, while forward Inaki Williams has in the past been linked with a transfer to Liverpool, but remained loyal to the Basque institution. .