Athletic Bilbao legend Aritz Aduriz has announced his retirement from professional football tonight.
“Many times, I have said that football will leave you before you leave it,” he wrote in an official statement on Twitter.
“Yesterday, the doctors told me to go see the surgeon, sooner rather than later, to get a prosthetic to replace my hip and try to go about my everyday life, as normally as possible. Unfortunately, my body has said ‘enough’.
“I can’t help my team-mates the way I would like to, nor the way they deserve. That is the life of a professional athlete. Simple.”
The footballing world has embraced Aduriz’s decision with a wave of admiration, looking back on the career of one of Europe and Spain’s most underrated strikers of the modern era.
- David Beckham’s best teammates XI
- Rating Sir Alex Ferguson’s most expensive signings
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s jumping scientifically studied
Aduriz’s stellar career
Aduriz played for Bilbao across three spells, also starring for clubs such as Valencia and Mallorca, scoring 141 goals across 296 appearances in the Basque Country.
The number nine gained attention for seemingly improving with age, scoring an astonishing 36 goals from 55 matches during the 2015/16 campaign in which he was latterly 36 years old.
That incredible form deep into his thirties helped him earn 12 of his 13 caps for Spain, becoming his country’s oldest ever goalscorer by finding the net aged 35 years and 275 days in 2016.
Incredible penalty vs Valladolid
However, of all the memories that Aduriz has given football fans over the years, few can compare to the penalty he took against Real Valladolid in December 2018.
Bilbao earned the spot kick with the scores at 0-0, giving Aduriz the opportunity to propel them towards a 1-0 lead that would lift them out of the relegation zone. Pressure, right?
Well, you wouldn’t have known that Aduriz was feeling an ounce of the pressure the way he stepped up to the ball by, well, only taking one step up to the ball.
The Spaniard casually took one of the most badass penalties in football history by completely ditching a run-up and nonchalantly placing it into the bottom corner – check it out:
One of many Aduriz memories
Oh, Aritz, are you sure you don’t fancy one more season?
It’s sad that Aduriz’s injury problems mean that we’ll never see him at the highest level again, but moments of pure brilliance like the one above will ensure that his legacy endures for decades.
Besides, even if we ignore that spine-tingling moment from 12 yards, we can reassure ourselves with the fact that Aduriz’s final ever goal for Bilbao was similarly unforgettable.
On the opening day of the season, Aduriz scored a mind-boggling volley against champions Barcelona in stoppage time with his 40th birthday less than two years away. Bonkers.
No matter how highly you rated him or not, there’s no denying that Aduriz brought the entertainment.