Real Sociedad’s Xabi Prieto is set to join an exclusive list at the San Sebastian as he prepares for his 500th club appearance against Villareal on Friday.
The 33-year-old has stuck with La Real during one of its most difficult periods. Making his debut following the legendary 2002/2003 season where Real Sociedad nearly won the title, the then 20-year-old played 13 times for Sociedad as they sunk to a lowly 15th.
His first 4 years were ones of great personal success, breaking into the first team and making over 100 appearances for Sociedad by the time he was 24.
The club, on the other hand, went from crisis to crisis, a high of 14th over 4 seasons was little to celebrate for the Basque side and it only got worst. In 2006/2007, Real Sociedad were relegated to LaLiga2.
Prieto, entering his prime, had a choice to play out his best years away from his hometown club or fight to get them back into the top flight. The fight he inevitable chose took three years, a LaLiga2 title meant that Sociedad was promoted in style.
Apart from a scare under the guidance of David Moyes, the La Real have been a regular in the top ten in La Liga since their return in 2010. Though his influence dwindling with age, Prieto is certainly due alot of credit for that presence
It won’t be easy for Sociedad, Villareal will be looking to avert an early season crisis after losing their opener to Levante, but Erreala would love to mark Prieto 500th game with a first home win of the season.
Kick off is at 19:15 on Friday