Athletic Bilbao international striker Aritz Aduriz announced his immediate retirement from football. In a letter he made public, he assured that “the time has come” after the doctors recommended that he go through the operating room to put on a hip prosthesis. To the situation, in the midst of the stop forced by the coronavirus pandemic, an extra pain is added: the legend of the Basque club will miss the historic final of the Copa del Rey against Real Sociedad, which will be played only in 2021.
Aritz Aduriz leaves football at the age of 39 as Athletic Club’s top scorer in the 21st century and the sixth in his entire history, with 172 goals. Ahead of him are only Zarra (335), Bata (208), Dani (199), Gorostiza (196) and Iraragorri (179).
In his letter, Aduriz explains that “the time has come” for him to hang up his boots before his hip problems, which complicated him to play during the last year.
“Many times I have mentioned that football leaves you before you leave him,” reflected the former international striker on his social networks, to whom “the doctors yesterday” recommended “go through the operating room, tomorrow better than the day after ” He explained that it should be operated as soon as possible: “To put on a prosthesis to replace my hip and try to face, at least, as normal as possible daily life.”
“Unfortunately my body has said enough. I cannot help my teammates as I would like and as they deserve,” lamented the striker, who, in any case, assumed that “this is also the life of a professional athlete.”
He also recalled: “Unfortunately we are experiencing much more serious and painful situations; the pandemic (of COVID-19) that we still suffer has left us irreparable damage and we have to continue fighting it among all.” In this sense, he wanted to put aside his particular case somewhat, given the relevance of the pandemic that plagues the entire society. “Therefore, do not worry about me, this is just an anecdote. Let’s forget about the dreamed endings, because we will have time to say goodbye. And yes, it is time to say goodbye and this way ends for me, unforgettable and wonderful from start to finish “, ended his first farewell to an Aduriz who signed the letter with a” thank you very much “.
Athletic, meanwhile, stressed that the man from San Sebastian “will go down in history as one of the most charismatic strikers outside the field and on the green, where he has drawn an amalgam of spectacular shots.”
He also recalled the Basque club, in which after over 30 years he had a spectacular and more than unusual career for a striker his age, that “four of his goals served the lions to win the 2015 Super Cup by a 5-5 aggregate 1 against FC Barcelona with (Leo) Messi at the controls “.
Aduriz, Athletic continued, “carries this Super Cup title and a handful of European classifications under his arm, including one for the Champions League.” And he noted that “his performance grew incredibly at age 30 to break several longevity records.”
Signed at the age of 17 from Old Donostiarra, where he coincided with two other greats such as Xabi Alonso and the one who was later his teammate also in Athletic Andoni Iraola, Aduriz hardened in Aurrera de Vitoria and Bilbao Athletic before debuting in the first team rojiblanco.
He did it in September 2002 at the orders of Jupp Heynckes against a FC Barcelona that marked his career, since he lived some of his best nights against the Catalan team. Among them the one of the first day of this season, when he scored what has been the last goal of his career with a spectacular Chilean who gave the victory to his team at the edge of regulation time and just out on the field.
Aduriz left Lezama for the first time to grow in Burgos, in Segunda B, and later was an idol in Segunda in Valladolid, where curiously he played his last minutes for Athletic in the 1-4 of José Zorrilla prior to confinement.
His first return was at a delicate moment for Athletic, in the winter market of the 2005-2006 season, the first of the ‘black biennium’ that threatened to kick Athletic first. A year in which it was key for, led by Javier Clemente, to keep the rojiblanco team among the best.
He had to leave yet again, in 2008 to Mallorca after coinciding with the emergence of a younger Fernando Llorente.
He also did well in Mallorca and Leo signed Valencia, where he spent two seasons until Athletic claimed him again to alleviate the disagreement between the club and Llorente and help again to achieve permanence in the second campaign of Marcelo Bielsa, the bad year of both of the Argentine coach.
Since then, his career has been spectacular, leaving -as Athletic pointed out- “a tremendous legacy and unforgettable images such as his five goals at San Mamés al Genk” in the Europa League.
Athletic regretted that “the coronavirus has been interposed” to prevent Aduriz from “playing the Cup final against Real Sociedad” that he is so excited about the San Sebastian player and the entire environment of both teams, and that “it was an extra motivation” to put the “finishing touch to your career”.
“Lifting that Cup was his dream, but he will be there breathing spirit. It is also his,” Athletic reminded his reference player in the last decade.
(With information from EFE)