Aritz Aduriz released an emotional statement on Wednesday afternoon, informing the football world of his retirement at the age of 39.
This year’s all-Basque Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad was due to be played on April 18 in Seville, the final game of Aduriz’s long career. He dreamed of lifting the famous trophy, but it wasn’t to be.
The San Sebastian-born striker leaves as sixth top scorer in the history of Athletic. Starting out in 1999, he went on to play for Aurrera de Vitoria, Burgos, Real Valladolid, Mallorca and Valencia, in a career that took off after he turned 30. Since celebrating his 30th birthday, the tall striker hit his peak over several seasons and netted a total of 159 goals.
In August, in the famous San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Aduriz netted his last ever goal. In the 89th minute, with the score at 0-0 against Barcelona, he connected with a looping cross from the right to perform a stunning scissor kick and give Athletic victory over Barca. A fitting way to bow out.
“Yesterday the doctors told me to go to see the surgeon, sooner rather than later, to get a prosthesis to replace my hip. Unfortunately, my body has said ‘enough‘,” he said in his statement.
Aduriz represented Spain 13 times from 2010 to 2017, scoring two goals. Along with Lionel Messi, the 39-year-old is the only player to have scored in 15 straight La Liga seasons.