Aritz Aduriz “I’m Very Happy To Continue This Dream”
After months of uncertainty the future of Aritz Aduriz is finally decided. The club announced on Wednesday that the 38-year-old has signed a one-year contract renewal and will continue at San Mamés next season. Aduriz then addressed the media at 4:00pm where he was visibly excited about the new deal.
“I made the decision to renew this week. I asked to wait until the end of the season. I am very happy to continue this dream. I love competing with Athletic and you don’t know the joy I have to wear this shirt and go out onto the field with 40,000 fans supporting me. Today, there is nothing that equals it. The support of the fans gives me a lot of joy and responsibility. When the fans support you so well that fear of failure is great. I am very grateful for all the love I’ve felt from everyone.”
Aduriz went on to say that he’s had the support of the fans and club which played a big role in his decision. The striker isn’t happy with how he performed last year after dealing with a serious knee injury and knows that he can contribute more to the team.
“I have felt very supported in every way. I have spoken on several occasions with Rafa and the coach and they have always given me their support in this decision. It’s true that I have had many doubts because of my injuries and because I feel that I haven’t been at a good enough level to compete. I don’t feel good about that because I am responsible. I couldn’t help the team when I wanted to and the doubts were justified. It wasn’t an easy decision. I wanted to finish the league and then decide.”
That knee injury at the start of 2019 was the major factor in Aduriz’s limited chances this season. He was sidelined for several months and says that when he does retire he wants to do so the right way. In the meantime, he still has goals that he wants to achieve with Athletic.
“The injury in January is probably the issue that harmed me the most. It’s the injury that took me off the field longest and it isn’t the same having the injury at 38. If that happens at 28 the body reacts differently, but at my age it takes more to return. I’ve worked hard to be better than I’ve been and I’m going to keep working hard. I would like to end my career with a good taste in my mouth, on and off the field. I have a few outstanding challenges with this club that I would like to face statistically, personally, and collectively. I would also like to finish with the team in Europe.”
Having the entire summer to rest will help Aduriz return to preseason training in the best shape possible. When asked about playing until he’s 40, the striker admitted that you never know what will happen.
“The injuries conditioned my performance, but I haven’t been as good as I would have liked. I also think that with a little rest I can improve physically. I am able to contribute a lot on the field and do everything that is required of me from the club, from the fans, and from my teammates. I have another contract with Athletic. It’s very difficult to have continuity as a player but you never know about the future.”
Aduriz understands just how special Athletic is and believes that the team came together this season to turn things around. Continuing at the club, especially at his age, isn’t easy and Aduriz is very grateful for the support he’s been given.
“Athletic is a different club in every way. We have an enviable team and we all take a lot of responsibility. I think that has been shown this past year when we all came together to move forward. I feel responsible, but no more than anyone else because the level of commitment from everyone is very great. To be here, the first thing is that the club has to want you to continue because it’s not a unilateral decision. I am grateful for their support and desire for me to continue.”
Failing to qualify for Europe also put Aduriz’s renewal in doubt. The striker explained that it’s his goal to qualify next season and whenever he does retire he wants to do so with the team in Europe.
“We missed out on Europe by a few centimeters, Iñigo’s shot, so we didn’t have the result that we needed. We all wanted to qualify for Europe. I wanted it, like everyone else. It was something that would have played a positive role in renewing, but it didn’t happen and despite that I have felt the support of everyone. I would like to be able to qualify next year and hopefully we will accomplish that goal.”
Athletic had some issues scoring goals last year and Aduriz’s renewal will hopefully rectify that issue. That being said, the striker also believes that every team is finding it more difficult to score. The Lions are working hard to improve in this area.
“Scoring goals is hard to do nowadays. It’s very difficult. We notice that so many games are being won by one goal. Every team has difficulties and we are going to work to improve. There is quality to spare. Iñaki had a spectacular final stage of the season and there are other players who will contribute. It’s necessary to have patience so that these processes have their time.”
Some have suggested that Aritz Aduriz is interested in playing until he’s 40 but that remains to be seen. The striker has chosen to sign one-year renewals for the past few seasons and will once again have to decide his future when his new deal comes to an end. For now, Aduriz is solely focused on preparing for next season and helping Athletic qualify for Europe.