West Ham United reportedly decided against bringing Unai Nunez to the Premier League but the Athletic Bilbao star was in sublime form against Barcelona.
Barcelona must be sick of the sight of Athletic Bilbao. Or, more specifically, Unai Nunez.
Back in August, the Spanish international centre-back kicked off the 2019/20 season with one of the finest defensive performances of the entire campaign as the Basque giants, thanks to a sensational Aritz Aduriz bicycle kick in the dying seconds, stunned the La Liga champions.
On Thursday night, as Athletic beat Barca 1-0 in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, it was Inaki Williams’s turn to be the stoppage time hero. But Nunez, just as he was seven months ago, was the best player on the pitch at the San Mames.
Nunez’s expert positioning has always been his strength and an exceptional reading of the game was on show once more as Lionel Messi and failed to find a way through a well-marshalled back line. Two brilliant blocks, meanwhile, denied Barca two almost certain goals.
And if any West Ham United fans were watching (though the chances of that are slim given that the Spanish cup remains conspicuous by it’s absence on UK TV), they will have been left baffled by claims that the relegation-threatened Londoners walked away from a January deal for Nunez.
The centre-back has a £25 million release-clause in his contract. But a West Ham side who gifted Brighton three horrific goals in Saturday’s defensive disaster-class decided against bringing Nunez to England as they still have reservations about his ability, as reported by AS.
What those doubts are, however, is anyone’s guess.
Unai Nunez has kept both Barcelona and Real Madrid quiet this season. Must be first choice for us.
— P (@_ML26_) February 6, 2020
Unai Nunez is goated
— not aryan (@throughballls) February 6, 2020
Unai Nunez MOTM. We should have scored 3 or 4 without him.
At least we can focus on La Liga now.
— Lorenzo (@LorenzoMunisami) February 6, 2020
Unai nunez with an a stomper of a performance
— DUMBO (@DumboFi) February 6, 2020
First time I’ve watched him but Unai Nunez looks like a stud #AthleticClub
— Lucas Mirani (@LucasMirani) February 6, 2020
Unai nunez blocked two definite goals ♂️
— Ravi Teja (@Raviteja53) February 6, 2020
Athletic defending so well inside the box. Unai Nunez is the next big thing, you can mark this.
— allasFCB (@allas_FCB) February 6, 2020
Unai nunez such a beast.
— Jimi (@VintageJim_) February 6, 2020