Aritz Aduriz “The Simple Fact Of Scoring A Goal At San Mamés Is Such A Huge Motivation”
Aritz Aduriz will turn 39 this season and all he wants is to keep playing football at a high level. Last year was difficult for the striker who struggled with various injuries, but the Lezama graduate is healthy once again and ready to score more goals. Earlier this week Aduriz sat down for an interview with Libero where he explained that he won’t need a tribute when he retires because it’s the fans who should be celebrated.
“When I retire I want to do it the same way that I came to the first team, without making a noise. I’m never going to need tributes, I’ve had a thousand. I will have to pay homage to the fans for everything they have given me. I have a thousand motivations. That’s not the problem because I really have a thousand motivations with Athletic, or myself at the club level, or small achievements that I can reach. The simple fact of scoring a goal at San Mamés is such a huge motivation that it’s enough.”
The striker went on to reflect on last season, admitting that it was extremely difficult. He never doubted if he would continue playing football, but just not being able to physically play was very frustrating.
“With many ups and downs, it’s been a hard year on a personal level, probably the hardest of my career. Not so much because of the doubt of whether or not to continue, being aware that the end is getting closer, but because I was injured more than in my whole career put together. The first team months it was my groin and then the ACL in my knee was partially torn. It was very difficult for me to start and that frustration of not being well was very hard.”
When asked whether or not he had doubts about renewing his contract, Aduriz explained that everyone does at his age. Mentally, he still enjoys everything about being a footballer, though physically he knows there are limitations.
“Everyone has doubts. I think it’s more physical than mental. Mentally I still enjoy a lot. Although, I also think that it’s all related because when you are physically well, more or less, you can enjoy more of everything because training isn’t a burden. When you are not physically well, the days are a burden because you know there are going to be times when you are going to have to suffer.”
Competition is one of the biggest driving forces behind Aduriz’s prolonged football career. The 38-year-old loves training every day and wants to play in each game. He says the entire team at Athletic are the same way and that pushes him to continue at his age.
“All of us who are at the highest level like to compete, or at least it’s very rare to find players who don’t enjoy training. It’s very difficult to train without wanting to compete but there are cases. The general norm, and it is with our group, is that we like to compete and win each exercise in each training session. That is also what motivates you to continue at a high level of competition.”
When Aduriz was a kid he fell in love with football even though his family weren’t big fans of the sport. Football always gave him joy and it’s that reason why he continues playing today. Being on a team is special to Aduriz and he loves sharing every experience with his teammates.
“Competition itself makes me excited. It gets me going. When I was a kid I competed in cross-country skiing and I enjoyed it, but the ball is what I liked the most since I was little. My parents didn’t like football but for whatever reason I just wanted the ball. It’s what made me happy and I grew up around happiness. Today I’m still playing because football keeps making me happy, plain and simple. Also, I think I feel much more accomplished in a collective sport than in an individual one. Sharing those experiences in a group, being able to enjoy the good or overcome the frustrations with your teammates makes everything better.”
The day will eventually come when Aduriz decides to hang up his boots and he isn’t looking forward to it. “Evidently, it’s very hard to leave the game”, he explained. “I think we all have that fear of moving to an unknown life because we have been doing the same thing since childhood, with a daily routine and 25 teammates around every day. I think that when I retire what I will miss the most is that routine with my teammates and I’m sure I’ll feel a vacuum.” Retirement is closer than ever, but for now Aritz Aduriz just wants to continue enjoying football.