Aritz Aduriz “There Are No Feelings Of Revenge, We Just Want To Win “
Aritz Aduriz made his long-awaited return from a hip injury on Sunday as Athletic fell 2-0 to Getafe. The striker had missed nearly three months but looked very comfortable and dangerous on the field. On Thursday, Athletic will welcome Barcelona to San Mamés for the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and Aduriz will be expected to contribute on some level.
“The illusion generated by the Cup and this match is a wonderful challenge,” Aduriz said during Tuesday’s press conference. “When you play football you dream of this type of match. It’s like a final because only one will advance. There are many reasons for everyone to be excited. I have no doubt that all the fans will help us. I hope that we can advance and live a memorable night. One always fantasizes about those moments, but there is a lot of hard work ahead.”
Aduriz, who will turn 39 years old in just a few days, scored an incredible overhead kick on the first day of the season to lead Athletic to a 1-0 victory over Barcelona. The striker says he will never forget that goal while also pointing out that Barcelona have changed quite a bit under new manager Quique Setien.
“I will always remember it, but we can’t be fooled. This is going to be a very different match. That previous game doesn’t help us. It will be a different game and also different than the one against Getafe. I dare not even think that Barcelona is more vulnerable now than before. They have the best player in the world and are a team that fights for everything.”
Athletic have reached the final of the Copa del Rey twice over the past decade and lost to Barcelona both times. This time they hope to topple the Catalans and advance in pursuit of a 25th Cup title.
“There are no feelings of revenge, we just want to win. They also want to win. It’s a difficult game but also an opportunity. This is the type of game you are looking forward to from the preseason. It’s a beautiful match and we will face it well.”
Aduriz also addressed the hip injury that kept him sidelined for several months, saying that it’s an issue that will never fully heal. At this point, he just hopes to stay fit and contribute to the team as much as possible.
“Mentally, it’s not easy when you see what you want to do but can’t help on the field. It’s a different situation that I’m used to, but it’s another enriching moment to learn from. This injury isn’t going to heal and it’s something that I’m going to take with me after football. What I’m trying to do is be as good as possible to be competitive and help the team. I want to try to help and be competitive. I want to contribute in the day to day and not the little that I’ve done. The hip affects everything. It’s at the center of all our movements and you have to live with the limitations and pain.”
Following Thursday’s match Athletic will travel to Anoeta on Sunday for a Basque Derby against Real Sociedad. “It’s an important match too, but right now all of our thoughts and strength are on Thursday,” Aduriz said imperatively. “It requires our full attention.” Athletic haven’t lost to Barcelona since Gaizka Garitano took over as manager and the Zurigorri are confident that they can continue that impressive streak in a few days.