La Liga has been taking the time to highlight certain players across the league and recently conducted an interview with Athletic Club’s Aritz Aduriz. While featuring on the El Protagonista video, the 37-year-old was asked about a myriad of topics and was open and honest in his answers. He began by admitting that the team was hoping to have another strong season competing for European qualification after four straight years of doing so, but now the focus has to be one finishing the campaign in the best way possible.
“Well, we were really hoping to have a good season and we had a number of objectives. We had three competitions in all at the start of the season. We wanted to do as well as possible in all three competitions that we were involved in. We’ve been knocked out of two of them and in the third, La Liga, we are not doing that well. Whatever, we are going to try and end as high up in the league table as possible at the end of the season. We came from four years in which we’d been battling for European qualification. We’d qualified four years in a row and the fans like the idea of us being in that competition. They like to see their team towards the top of the league. They like to see us competing with the best and of course we’re motivated by being able to compete with the best in Europe. We were hoping for the same this year. Like they say, there are still a lot of points to play for and we can still achieve things. I’m convinced the team is going to do well in the final stage of the league.”
When asked about himself, Aduriz was an humble as ever. He doesn’t consider himself to be a role model to anyone, instead he would rather continue as a simple footballer who is just trying to help his team. He believes that personal statistics are rather pointless due to football being a team sport and highlighted the fact that all of his achievements have come due in large part to the help of his teammates.
“I don’t consider myself an example in any way, but I always try to live up to my responsibilities and be as honest as I can. At the end of the day, what I try to do is work for the team. Like I’ve always said, it’s something that I feel in my heart. I profit from the work of the whole team and they help me score goals. Everyone has to work. Someone having better or worse statistics is irrelevant. It’s a collective effort. It’s a team sport in which individual displays can stand out, but in the end we are all in it together.”
The interview then turned attention to Aduriz’s teammates, namely Yeray and Iker Muniain. The striker was asked about Yeray’s second battle with cancer and Aduriz made it very clear that it was hard for everyone when the diagnosis was announced. He says that Yeray is a one of a kind person and someone to look up to. At the same time, he recognized Muniain’s battle against a second torn ACL and that having the attacker back in the team has made everyone better. Despite having just come back from a six month layoff, Muniain is in terrific form.
“It was a terrible blow for us that a teammate who you are close to suffers an illness that effects so many people and that so many people suffer from. But the fact is that Yeray is one of a kind in every sense. He’s carried on in a relaxed manner with such calmness and strength. He’s turned around a situation that is as tough as it can get. He’s a tremendous example for everyone. Muniain is a very important player for us because he’s capable of doing things that aren’t common at this club or in football in general. It was an injury that he knew about because he had suffered it before. He overcame it in a great way and he’s come back from it in style. We’re incredibly happy that he’s with us once again and he’s in such fine form. We’re delighted he can help us and be with us from now on until the end of the season.”
In closing, Aduriz was asked about Iñaki Williams who has been starting in place of the 37-year-old over the last few games. He said that Iñaki has great potential and is going to go on to have a career that will make the fans happy. When asked about his own future, Aduriz once again admitted that he doesn’t think that far ahead. He has one year left on his contract and is looking forward to helping the team achieve success next season.
“Iñaki is a player with great potential. I’ve always said he’s going to be a really exciting player and what’s more he has great ability in front of goal. I’m convinced he’s going to bring a lot of joy to all Athletic fans. Myself? Well right now I’ve got another year on my contract and the truth is I haven’t thought a lot about my future. I take it year by year, week by week. I’m fortunate to have another year and I’m thrilled to have the chance of doing my best for another season.”
Athletic Club will be back in action on Saturday when they will travel to the Anoeta to take on Real Sociedad in the Basque Derby. Sadly, Aritz Aduriz may not be able to participate after picking up a muscle injury in last week’s training. The striker missed Monday’s game against Levante and still has not been able to return to training. Regardless, the Lions understand the importance of this Derby and will be looking to leave San Sebastián with three big points.