Athletic Bilbao striker Aduriz to retire at end of 2019-20 season

By Sports Desk August 09, 2019

Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced he will retire at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The 38-year-old forward has enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career, becoming a Spain international and Athletic favourite across three spells for the club.

Aduriz's star at Athletic has enjoyed a particularly impressive rise since returning to the club in 2012, but he will be 39 by the time the new season concludes and feels it will be time to focus on other facets of life.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Aduriz told reporters: "I wanted to communicate that this year is going to be my last year as a professional.

"I will leave football when I finish this season. It makes me especially excited to be able to leave it at Athletic.

"The aim of saying it now is to avoid distractions so I can focus everything on the team. Hopefully we can end the year with something very nice and we can offer all our fans something beautiful.

"I feel very happy to be able to leave football at Athletic. I will compete and enjoy every day until the end. We believe the end never comes, but choosing the end and where I will be at the end is an immense privilege.

"It is a thoughtful decision, which I could've taken last year, but circumstances have made it this year. It is a decision made with my family. I am very proud that I end at Athletic."

Although his first spell with Athletic as a youngster saw him mostly confined to the reserves and out on loan to Burgos in the third tier, Aduriz earned a move to Real Valladolid before returning to San Mames in 2006.

He featured prominently in his second stint with Athletic, but Fernando Llorente began to be preferred in the 2007-08 season, and Aduriz left for a solid two-year spell with Mallorca, scoring 23 LaLiga goals.

That form earned him a move to Valencia and, while his 17-goal haul over two seasons was good given he made only 31 starts, there was little resistance to his departure for Athletic ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.

This time Aduriz was top dog in attack, with Llorente struggling for form as he ran his contract down.

Aduriz's record of 14 strikes in 2012-13 was a personal best at the time, but there was better to come.

The burly striker followed up with 16 the following season, 18 the year after and then 20 in 2015-16, earning him a call-up to the Spain squad for Euro 2016.

Fittingly, Aduriz could feature against all three of his former employers, Valencia, Valladolid and Mallorca, in his final season, following the latter's promotion last term.

Related items

  • Arteta's Arsenal pride tempered by need for reinforcements after Mustafi blow Arteta's Arsenal pride tempered by need for reinforcements after Mustafi blow

    Mikel Arteta was proud of his young Gunners after Arsenal secured an FA Cup fifth-round spot with a win over Bournemouth.

    The visitors, 13-time winners of the competition, secured a 2-1 triumph at the Vitality Stadium with Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah on target before substitute Sam Surridge grabbed a late consolation in an otherwise one-sided tie.

    Arsenal's two goalscorers were the standout performers in a youthful line-up on a night when Arteta's defensive options were further depleted by a serious-looking injury for Shkodran Mustafi.

    Arteta, while pleased with Monday's display, admitted the club would need to dip into the transfer market to bolster his squad, with a fifth-round trip to Portsmouth added to their schedule. 

    "Very pleased. It's always tough to come here and win, we've done it with a young team as well," the Gunners boss told BBC Sport.

    "I have a lot of faith in them. I think they are developing really well. They are willing and hungry and will only get better.

    "We analyse opponents and try to generate situations that are favourable for our players.

    "I was worried with their history in the last few weeks we would concede in the last few minutes.

    "Our history with this cup is massive for the club. We need to take it step by step."

    On the injury to Mustafi and his hopes to bring in reinforcements, Arteta added: "We will have to assess him but when Mustafi has to come off, normally it is not good.

    "We are in the market. We are looking for some things with the resources we have and we will tell you when we have more news."

    Opposite number Eddie Howe conceded his side lost the tactical battle and did not work hard enough without the ball to match their visitors.

    "There were tactical problems for us," said the Cherries manager. "We changed system a couple of times but we weren't ourselves out of possession.

    "We were second in the battles. Against quality teams that is what you have to master."

  • Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: Arteta's young Gunners set up Portsmouth clash Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: Arteta's young Gunners set up Portsmouth clash

    Arsenal's love affair with the FA Cup continued with a 2-1 fourth-round victory over Bournemouth on Monday.

    The competition's most successful club, with 13 wins, secured a last-16 trip to 2008 winners Portsmouth courtesy of a deserved triumph at the Vitality Stadium. 

    Bukayo Saka opened the scoring inside five minutes to cap a fine team move involving all 10 outfield players, with Eddie Nketiah doubling the visitors' lead before the break.

    Mikel Arteta's side conceded a late goal to Sam Surridge after he came off the bench for the Cherries, whose focus will switch back to the task of Premier League survival.

    Arsenal made an early statement of intent with an excellent display of passing and movement that led to Saka thrashing home the opener from the corner of the six-yard box, Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli proving particularly influential in the build-up. 

    The industrious Willock was in the thick of the action again midway through the half, eluding Dan Gosling before calling goalkeeper Mark Travers into action.

    Saka turned provider for Nketiah, the former Leeds United loanee rolling in from close range at the end of the opening goalscorer's low cross in the 26th minute. 

    Bournemouth, who ended a six-match winless run in the league with a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, looked bereft of ideas and spent much of the first half on the defensive, with Harry Wilson's strike providing the only meaningful work for Emiliano Martinez.

    Arsenal lost Shkodran Mustafi to a serious-looking injury just past the hour mark and suffered a brief scare when Martinez flapped at a corner, the ball spinning wide off the head of the seemingly oblivious Jack Simpson.

    Arteta's side appeared to be cruising until Surridge halved the deficit in stoppage time from fellow substitute Simon Francis' probing ball, but it was too little too late and the Spaniard will be hopeful of adding to the two FA Cups he won as a player with the Gunners.

     

    What does it mean? Arteta eyes season's silver lining

    While a top-four finish in the Premier League may not be beyond Arsenal's reach, it is a significant stretch for a side whose top-flight win tally of six matches Bournemouth's exploits this season. That leaves the FA Cup as a sizeable consolation prize for a club with a proud history in this competition.

    Lively Saka catches the eye

    Saka's impact on the game is evident from his goal and assist, but the 18-year-old's all-round display was just as noteworthy, with an 87.5 per cent passing accuracy, five recoveries and two chances created.

    Howe bad was that?

    Cherries boss Howe made six changes from the victory against Brighton and, with top-flight safety his primary objective, you can understand why. But the side he put out looked lost, producing a disjointed and tactically inept display that saw the tie put beyond their reach before the half-hour mark, with Surridge's late strike failing to paper over the cracks.

    What's next?

    Arsenal head to Turf Moor on Sunday to take on a Burnley side who sit level with them on 30 points, while Bournemouth welcome Aston Villa for a crunch six-pointer on Saturday. 

  • Liverpool face potential Chelsea clash in FA Cup fifth round Liverpool face potential Chelsea clash in FA Cup fifth round

    Liverpool will play Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup if they come through a replay with Shrewsbury Town.

    Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders were stunningly held to a 2-2 draw by the third-tier club on Sunday.

    The Reds will be expected to come through the replay at Anfield but face a tricky test in the last 16 should they do so in the form of a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Frank Lampard's Blues.

    Holders Manchester City were handed an away tie at Championship promotion chasers Sheffield Wednesday, while Manchester United could renew acquaintances with record goalscorer Wayne Rooney if his Derby County side defeat fourth-tier Northampton Town in a replay.

    There will be an all-Premier League tie regardless of who comes through the replay between Tottenham and Southampton, the winner set to host relegation-threatened Norwich City.

    Arsenal, who have won the competition a record 13 times, can secure their place in the fifth round on Monday with victory at Bournemouth, whose south-coast neighbours Portsmouth await the victor.

    The fifth-round ties will be played from March 2-5 with no replays.

    Draw in full:

    Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City
    Reading/Cardiff City v Sheffield United
    Chelsea v Shrewsbury Town/Liverpool
    West Brom v Newcastle United/Oxford United
    Leicester City v Coventry City/Birmingham City
    Northampton Town/Derby County v Manchester United
    Southampton/Tottenham v Norwich City
    Portsmouth v Bournemouth/Arsenal

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.