Aritz Aduriz “I Think We Have To Put Things Into Perspective”
Aritz Aduriz is living his final days as a professional football and it’s far from what he expected. The coronavirus pandemic has brought the season to a halt and at the moment there is no clear understanding of if or when it will resume. While the 39-year-old is anxious to play int he Copa del Rey final with a chance to win the first title since 1984, but was quick to point out during today’s virtual press conference that it’s far from the most important thing right now.
“These are very complicated times, but it has brought out the most caring side of this society. There are many positive things that we can take away. We haven’t experienced it until now, but it’s a necessary evil to make us reflect and bring out that side that many times we lack. The most important thing is not my farewell nor if we play again or not because there are much more important things to tackle.”
While answering questions from social media the striker mentioned that this situation should bring change to society. “There will be a before and after,” he said. “It’s going to make us rethink many things and value things more. This puts things more into perspective.”
Although football is not the priority at the moment, the Cup final is still something that everything is looking forward to playing. Even if he scores against Real Sociedad, Aduriz is confident that he would still be welcome in his hometown of Donosti.
“We all have the final in mind but every day we are prioritizing other matters. Many people are suffering a lot and some are losing their lives. The final is important, but right now not so much because there are other things we have to solve together. I’m from San Sebastián. I have always felt comfortable in Donosti and that won’t change just because of one game. I’m sure everyone will treat me the same.”
Aduriz was eventually asked if he dreams of scoring in the final. “I would like to win, that’s what we all want,” he responded. “I wouldn’t care who scored the goals. The most important thing is that we can experience something of this magnitude. Winning a title with Athletic is my biggest aspiration. It’s everything we dream of.”
With Aduriz’s contract set to expire on 30 June there have been concerns over what would happen if the Cup final is rescheduled for a later date. “There are other things to worry about right now,” the striker said. Some have suggested that Aduriz could renew his contract to be available for the fixture. “It’s not only up to me because Athletic would have to agree to it. Even so, there’s nothing I would like more than being able to play in that Cup. It’s what I would like most in the world.”
Whenever the season does resume Aduriz says having a sort of preseason is imperative. If the players aren’t given time to return to training and get back in proper shape it could result in unnecessary injuries.
“A mini preseason is going to be essential. We have to adapt and it’s not enough to be at home without touching the ball. We’re going to have to adapt before competing because it would be a debacle if we didn’t. There would be many injuries but the time will be determined by the calendar.”
Having dealt with a hip injury for the past year, fans had hoped that the stoppage would give Aduriz valuable time to recover. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. “My hip problem isn’t a punctual injury, it’s chronic,” explained the striker. “It will continue long after football. Lowering the load eases the pain, but it’s still going to be there and the moment we start training again I will notice it.”
When asked about his favorite moment in an Athletic shirt, Aduriz admitted that the current situation has definitely changed his perspective. “One of my best moments with Athletic was the Super Cup title and what we lived on the field,” he said at first. “But after spending so much time at home I think the most beautiful moment is the day to say. Being at Lezama, all together, having breakfast. Those are the the little moments you value a lot right now.”
Throughout his career Aduriz has scored many goals be it with his head, either foot, or from the penalty spot. However, there’s one type of goal that has eluded the veteran. “The only goal that I haven’t scored is one that I will never do, a free kick, but it’s a little late for that.”
Taking the opportunity to send in questions, teammate Iñaki Williams asked Aduriz “Who is your favorite Negrito,” to which the striker laughed. “Willi, you know who my favorite Negrito is,” Aduriz answered with a smile. “I want to give you a good kick when you put your little songs on, but you know who my favorite Negrito is. Willi, maite zaitut!”
Regardless of whether or not Athletic win the Copa del Rey title Aduriz still plans to retire. It’s no secret that the striker has loved every part of being a professional footballer and shared that after taking some time to himself he fully expects to continue working in the sport in some capacity.
“Football is my passion and what I’ve liked the most since I was little. The ball was my first love. Football plays a very important part in my life and in the future I think it will still be like this. I don’t know in what way or how but I will continue to be linked to football. I have been going non-stop for a long time so when this is over I will need some time to reflect and do other things that I haven’t been able to do until now. I will have some connection with football.”
Aduriz is a living legend for Athletic. That being the case, one fan jokingly asked the 39-year-old where he would like to see his statue built in Bilbao and the response was remarkable. “I think we have to put things into perspective,” Aduriz began. “Those who deserve it have made it clear who they are, but in this period no footballer, neither myself nor anyone else, deserves that kind of recognition. It’s those who are fighting every day in the hospitals who deserve the recognition. Football is not so important.”
Aduriz’s days as a professional footballer are coming to an end. The veteran is eager and excited to try to help the club lift the Copa del Rey title, but as always he’s putting others ahead of himself. Although his legacy isn’t fully written just yet, Aritz Aduriz will retire are one of the best to ever wear the Zurigorri shirt.