Etxebarria unsure of future
Benat Etxebarria says he would like to play in Europe with current club Real Betis, but admits his future remains up in the air.
The Basque playmaker, 26, has previously been linked with a host of top European clubs including Manchester City, Chelsea, Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and most recently Athletic Bilbao, where he began his career as a youth.
In early April his agent Jose Vicente Biurrun said that talks to extend his current deal at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, which ends in June 2014, had broken down and his client was likely to move on.
However, with Betis currently seventh in the Primera Division table and well placed to qualify for next season's Europa League, Benat has now told AS that he had not closed the door on staying for another year at least.
"Of course I am not closing it," Benat said. "Just the opposite, I am opening it. Of course I would like to play in Europe with Betis. I just want to end the season as well as possible with Betis, hopefully in Europe. And in June, if the club wants, we can sit down, also with my agents, and see what we can do that is best for everyone."
Spain international Benat said it was possible he would move on to further his career, but reports that he had already signed for another club were untrue.
“I, just the same as everyone, look at my future,” he said. “But if my future is away from Betis, people must understand. We all want to progress, to grow in our work. Some things which were said were not the truth, like that I had accepted offers and had already decided to leave. That is not correct. I like it a lot at Betis, I love the city, the weather, the people... And I am a Betico myself now. I really appreciate all that [Betis coach Pepe Mel, and this club, have done for me. Nobody can doubt that.”
The Basque playmaker, who three seasons ago was just establishing himself with the Betis first team in the Segunda Division, made his debut for Vicente del Bosque's full Spain side last summer. He said the price-tags being quoted in the media were hard to take seriously.
"I do not believe I am worth €12 million or €15 million or €20 million," he said. "That is something which flatters me, but it is difficult to believe it. A lot of things have happened in a short space of time, less than three years."
Asked about reports in Andalucia that out-of-contract in the summer team-mate David Canas had verbally agreed to join Premier League side Swansea City for next season, Benat said he would respect any decision his friend made.
"Canas is a great footballer, as well as my friend," he said. "If he decides that is his future, we must respect it. He is Betico. He will be missed if he goes."