Aritz Aduriz “I Would Have Liked To Win Something More With Athletic”
Athletic have had to adjust to life without Aritz Aduriz. The club legend announced his retirement nearly two months ago after being told that he would need hip surgery, but has stayed very close to the team. Aduriz has attended every single game since the season resume and has made peace with walking away from the game he loves.
“I left happy and sad,” Aduriz said as a guest on Hiru Erregeen Mahaia. “It’s not easy to define how I feel. I would say that I’m content, I feel content with my decision. I have done everything that I could. I’ve given everything and that’s what I’m left with. Now I see the team competing and I don’t feel like wanting to be there. I have that release.”
Aduriz may be content with life in retirement, but he still wishes that he would have been able to do even more while playing for Athletic. However, he has no regrets.
“If I could go back I would make the same decisions again. Looking at health, ending up so badly isn’t the best but to save my hip would have taken years of football away. I would never take that time away because I really enjoyed it. I would have liked to win something more with Athletic. As my grandfather used to say, you can’t look back, you have to go forward.”
Retiring was really the only choice for Aduriz. Having already undergone hip replacement surgery, the 39-year-old knew that continuing to play would be impossible.
“Football is an aggressive sport for the joints, for the knees, ankles, hips, everything. Recovery after the operation is going well. I hope to lead a normal and full life. I won’t be able to practice football. The blows, jumps, and falls are dangerous. I will have to try other sports. The last few months have been tough and I felt that I had to pay attention to what my body was telling me.”
Aduriz gave a farewell press conference at San Mamés a few days after announcing his retirement. Unfortunately, fans were unable to attend due to health concerns but he admits that just having his teammates there was overwhelming.
“I wasn’t expecting anything special, but I needed to explain and tell why I had made the decision. I needed to answer all the questions that might arise from my retirement. It was a very beautiful farewell and had a greater impact than I expected. I don’t feel the need for a farewell from the fans. I have had many tributes at San Mamés every time I played.”
Becoming one of the greatest strikers in club history wasn’t easy for Aduriz. Twice he had to leave Athletic but when he finally returned for a third spell in 2012 the timing was perfect.
“The first time I realized that I could make a living being a footballer was at Valladolid. There I realized that I could be at the level of players who were in the First Division. When the third opportunity came from Athletic I had confidence and understood the game better. It was time to return to Bilbao. The first time I went to the first team I wasn’t ready. I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t think I was able to make a place for myself.”
Before ending the interview Aduriz was asked about his famous one-step penalty last season that impacted the entire world of football. He revealed that he had actually been working on it for a long time, but wouldn’t have tried it without the support of his teammates.
“It’s the most calm penalty I’ve ever taken and also the one I’ve practiced the most. I memorized everything I had to do, the whole process have been practiced thousands of times. I practiced it at Lezama and asked my teammates for permission to do it. Respect is very important in a locker room. It’s something very important for football players. It shows that in football there is always an opportunity to improve and that you can evolve.”
Retiring due to injury and missing the Copa del Rey final wasn’t the way that Aduriz’s career was supposed to end. However, he has no regrets and walked away as one of the best players to ever wear the Athletic shirt. Now Aritz Aduriz is happy to support the team as a fan and is hoping to see Athletic qualify for Europe and lift the Cup trophy.