Aritz Aduriz Says Goodbye In Emotional Press Conference At San Mamés
Aritz Aduriz walked on the field at San Mamés Friday for the first time as a former player. The 39-year-old was greeted by teammates, coaches, and club executives who made a tunnel for him as he came out of the tunnel with his wife and two daughters. Although the Cathedral was empty of fans, Aduriz still had the opportunity to say goodbye in what was an emotional farewell press conference.
“It’s a very, very nice day for me,” Aduriz began. “It’s an honor that I’m able to end my career at my beloved Athletic. It’s been a privilege. It’s wonderful to be able to be speaking at the end of this road from the grass at San Mamés. I told the club to do something simple, but you see…I’m overwhelmed.”
Never one to draw attention to himself, Aduriz found it difficult to talk about his own career. Even the simple, yet unique, press conference was too much for the club legend who was overcome with emotions.
“This is already much more than I deserved. It’s not necessary to have 50,000 people here. I’ve enjoyed a lot at San Mamés and every Sunday, every game, has felt like a tribute.Talking about yourself is always difficult, but I’m reminded that I did everything to play in this shirt and that I always tried to do my best.”
Aduriz’s rise to greatness was unconventional. After breaking into the first team in 2002, the striker would leave the club twice before eventually returning for a second time in 2012 where cemented his legacy by scoring 149 goals between the ages of 31 and 39.
“I’ve had opportunities to meet other people and visit other places. I always think that when one door closes many others open. I have been able to live incredible opportunities. My message is that you should never give up. In life we fall a lot of times, but you have to get up and keep fighting. Perseverance and perseverance. You can always improve.”
Although Aduriz has had a longer career than most players, he isn’t retiring due to age. He would like to keep playing, but after being informed by doctors that he needs to undergo hip replacement surgery there was no choice. Aduriz will have his procedure on Saturday, 30 May.
“It’s a fight I’ve had for a while. I could more or less endure it. I saw that I could help the team a little, but after being home for so long because of the confinement it was made clear. The body has a limit for everyone and my hip has made it where there was nothing I could do. I’m looking forward to making up for lost time, trying to be a father a little more, and a husband. For now, for what is coming, I think that’s fine.”
Aduriz is confident that the team will be successful without him. However, he is sad to miss out on the Copa del Rey final against Real Sociedad which was postponed until next season.
“I think right now the team is better than if I continued in my current condition. You have to look forward. My Aitona (grandfather) says your eyes are on the front to look forward, you don’t have to look back. It’s hard not to be able to play the Cup final or ride on La Gabarra. I don’t need a spot on La Gabarra, really, I just need to get it out and I’ll celebrate it as one more fan.”
As a fan, Aduriz is excited to support the team and trusts that things are headed in a positive direction. Aduriz has loved every part of being a footballer and the thing he will miss the most is being with his teammates every day.
“Athletic is in very good hands. The hardest thing will not be missing these 11 remaining league games or the much-desired Cup final. The hardest thing will be not being with this squad again. I’m going to push them much less. Thank you all for this wonderful and unforgettable trip.”
Looking back on his life Aduriz shared that he was always in love with football. The though of one day playing for Athletic was only a dream when he was younger, but he reached that goal by giving everything he had on and off the field.
“I liked the ball, also many other things, but I could never imagine hat I was going to play a game in the Athletic shirt. If I have reached this point in my life at the age of 39 it’s because I have done what I liked the most and I’ve had a great time. It’s what I did as a child and what I’ve done so far.”
Aduriz also took the time to reflect on his career. When discussing his favorite moment, the striker said that it was his final goal, the bicycle kick against Barcelona, because both of his daughters were able to celebrate it and he held back tears as he talked about what that meant to him.
“Perhaps the most beautiful moment was the last goal against Barcelona because Yara and Noa, my daughters, were old enough to be aware of what was happening. I was able to celebrate with them because they saw it just like everyone else. If I could choose two moments the other would be the winning the Super Cup against Barcelona, which over time we have come to value a little more. We must give it merit because we won a two-game final against Barcelona with Messi.”
The life and career of Aduriz is a story of dedication, commitment, and never giving up. From a young boy with a dream to retiring as one of the greatest players in Athletic history, Aduriz did what he loved the most and was always humble, kind, and selfless. Aritz Aduriz is and has always been the perfect representative for Athletic and football.