It’s the first training session of the season at Lezama. Athletic Club’s players are wearing the club’s new pink training shirts in an open-door session that shouldn’t hold too many secrets. One of the teams is dressed in green, another in pink and another in blue.
For the vast majority of the players and supporters, everything is normal. For Óscar de Marcos, on the other hand, it is an impossible exercise to perform normally. He is incapable of knowing at game speed who belongs to his team and who belongs to his opponents. All his team-mates know though, including the club’s head coach, Ernesto Valverde.
The Athletic captain suffers from colour blindness, something that has marked him in a certain way, although “with tricks” he has adapted to everyday life, and life in football.
Athletic vs Barcelona
In an interview with Relevo, De Marcos speaks about a moment in a game between Pep Guardiola’s Barça and Athletic at the old San Mamés. “Villa was sent off and I was playing as a forward at the time. I asked [Gerard] Piqué, who was next to me: ‘Did he give him a red card?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you can’t see it?’ And I said: ‘Well, I can’t really see anything, I’m colour blind’.
“I pay more attention to how the crowd reacts,” he adds.
Colour-blind footballers often look more closely at the shorts and socks than at the shirt. “You find a mechanism to know at first who your team-mates are. We see the shorts very clearly and very quickly and that helps us.”
Kieran Quaile | GSFN