Aritz Aduriz

Aritz Aduriz
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Athletic Bilbao hero Aduriz needs hip surgery, retires early

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Sad news out of Basque Country, where one of the ageless players of our time announced he’s stepping away from playing in a terribly bittersweet fashion.

Athletic Bilbao living legend Aritz Aduriz had planned to write the end of his playing career at the conclusion of this La Liga season with a historic Basque Derby in the Copa del Rey Final.

But doctors told the 39-year-old that he needs to get an artificial hip immediately to help his quality of life, marking an early end to the career of La Liga’s second-leading Spanish scorer this century. Only David Villa has scored more goals in Spain’s top flight.

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Aduriz shared an emotional message with fans (in full at bottom of this post), as he will require an artificial hip and be unable to put his own ending on his remarkable career. He asked fans not to lament his predicament given the many worse struggles around the world, especially the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is part of his statement, translated by Marca:

“Unfortunately, we are living through situations much more grim and painful; the pandemic that we are suffering from has left us with irreparable damage and we have to keep fighting it, together. Therefore, I don’t want you to worry about me, this is just an anecdote.

“Let’s forget about the finals we dreamt about, because we will have time to say goodbye. And yes, the time has come to say goodbye, and this is how the road ends for me – unforgettable and marvelous, from beginning to end. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

Aduriz came joined Athletic’s reserve side in 2000 and joined the first team two years late. While he spent seasons with Valladolid, Mallorca, Valencia, and Burgos, he always came back to Athletic.

And boy, did he score. Aduriz struck double-digit goals in eight La Liga seasons, achieving the feat five times with Athletic, once with Valencia, and twice with Mallorca.

He finished with 219 goals and 63 assists in his career, 172 and 49 of those coming in 405 appearances for Athletic. Aduriz was a monster in Europe, too, especially the Europa League where he scored 28 times in 34 outings.

Capped 13 times by Spain and 13 more by the Basque national side, Aduriz could’ve sealed his career with a glorious Cup final but will instead rest on a heaping mound of laurels. His only other appearances in finals were a loss to Barcelona in the 2014-15 Copa del Rey and a vengeful Spanish Super Cup triumph over Barca the following season.

Even heated rivals Real Sociedad honored Aduriz honored the striker, tweeting, “We would have liked to say goodbye to you in the Cup Final of our dreams. Anyway, it has been a pleasure to have you for so many years. We wish you the best for your future.”

Athletic lit up its stadium to say “Thanks a lot” to its hero.

VIDEO: Barcelona beaten by 38-year-old Aduriz’s bicycle kick

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Barcelona’s 2019-20 La Liga campaign, and their quest for a third straight domestic title, began with a shocking defeat away to Athletic Bilbao, last season’s 8th-place finishers.

But, on the bright side (for neutrals and Barca haters, of course) it happened in the most spectacular of fashions.

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38-year-old Aritz Aduriz made his early submission for goal of the season: the following bicycle kick from 14 yards out on a high, long cross into the penalty area (goal at 0:38 mark).

The result snapped Barca’s streak of having won their opening league fixture for 10 straight seasons.

To make matters worse, Luis Suarez suffered a muscular injury to his right leg in the first half and was subbed off in the 37th minute. Barca were without Lionel Messi due to a calf injury, but Antoine Griezmann made his competitive debut for the club after moving from Atletico Madrid for $135 million this summer.

On the bright side (for Barca), they did manage to agree a loan move for Philippe Coutinho to leave the club, presumably shedding some, or all, of his wages off their books for the rest of the season.

La Liga wrap: Bilbao, Villarreal rise; Atleti wins fifth-straight

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Three La Liga matches served as an appetizer for Wednesday’s tasty Barcelona-Sevilla encounter, with the Madrid Derby on tap for Saturday at the Bernabeu.

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Athletic Bilbao 2-0 Espanyol

Aritz Aduriz may play until he’s 50. The 36-year-old Spaniard added his 11th and 12th goals of the season on Tuesday, giving him goals in three-straight matches. Bilbao goes sixth with the win thanks to Real Sociedad’s loss.

Real Betis 0-1 Villarreal

Villarreal also took advantage of Sociedad’s loss, getting a first goal of the season from Adrian to move fifth

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Sociedad

Atleti is flying ahead of the weekend’s Madrid Derby, now winners of five-straight after this goal from Filipe Luis to Fernando Torres and back to Luis.

Wednesday’s games

Barcelona vs. Sevilla — 1:30 p.m. EDT
Alaves vs. Osasuna — 2:30 p.m. EDT
Deportivo de la Coruna vs. Granada — 2:30 p.m. EDT
Sporting de Gijon vs. Malaga – 2:30 p.m. EDT
Leganes vs. Real Madrid — 3:30 p.m. EDT

Standings

 

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Real Madrid 28 21 5 2 74 28 46 12-3-0 9-2-2 68
 Barcelona 29 20 6 3 85 26 59 10-3-1 10-3-2 66
 Atlético Madrid 30 18 7 5 55 23 32 11-2-2 7-5-3 61
 Sevilla 29 17 7 5 52 34 18 10-3-1 7-4-4 58
 Villarreal 30 14 9 7 42 23 19 8-3-4 6-6-3 51
 Athletic 30 15 5 10 39 33 6 11-3-2 4-2-8 50
 Real Sociedad 30 15 4 11 43 41 2 7-4-4 8-0-7 49
 Eibar 29 12 8 9 47 41 6 8-3-4 4-5-5 44
 Espanyol 30 11 10 9 42 42 0 7-5-3 4-5-6 43
 Celta Vigo 28 12 5 11 43 46 -3 9-1-4 3-4-7 41
 Alavés 29 10 10 9 29 36 -7 4-7-3 6-3-6 40
 Las Palmas 29 9 8 12 45 48 -3 8-5-2 1-3-10 35
 Valencia 29 9 6 14 41 51 -10 6-3-5 3-3-9 33
 Betis 30 8 7 15 32 47 -15 5-6-5 3-1-10 31
 Málaga 29 6 9 14 33 47 -14 6-2-6 0-7-8 27
 Deportivo 29 6 9 14 31 46 -15 5-4-5 1-5-9 27
 Leganes 29 6 9 14 23 42 -19 3-5-6 3-4-8 27
 Sporting de Gijón 29 5 7 17 31 57 -26 4-2-8 1-5-9 22
 Granada 29 4 7 18 26 62 -36 4-4-6 0-3-12 19
 Osasuna 29 1 8 20 29 69 -40 0-5-10 1-3-10 11

Barcelona falls to Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg

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The referee was the focal point as Barcelona fell to Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey matchup.

Goals from Aritz Aduriz and Inaki Williams downed the Catalans, while a free-kick from Lionel Messi gave Barcelona life heading into the second leg.

There were a number of key refereeing decisions that led to the result. The most scrutinized was a pretty awful no-call in the first half after a challenge by Xabier Etxeita that left Neymar in a heap in the penalty area, but instead the referee shook his head.

Later, the referee was back in the spotlight after he sent off both Raul Gardia and Ander Iturraspe of Athletic in the second half for questionable second yellow cards. Despite the two-man advantage, Barcelona was never able to level things up. There was also a heated exchange between Aduriz and Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti which saw them both receive yellow cards.

Despite all this, Barcelona only had itself to blame. The second Athletic goal, from Inaki Williams in the 27th minute, came from absolutely nothing, when Jordi Alba gave the ball away and the hosts pounced swiftly, as Aduriz delivered a back-heel to Williams who hammered the ball with blistering pace into the back of the net.

The two will play the second leg at the Camp Nou on January 11th.

International friendly roundup: Spain, Italy draw as Aduriz nets again

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Antonio Conte led Italy in a home friendly against Spain while Wales tried its luck without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey in the headlining matches of Thursday’s friendlies across Europe.

[ MORE: Cruyff diesMost influential man in soccer history ]

Italy 1-1 Spain

Thirty-five year old Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz scored his second international goal in three caps to quickly answer Lorenzo Insigne’s first Italian goal since 2013, as these two powers drew a high-profile friendly at Stadio Friuli, home of Udinese. Spain had the better of possession, but Italy put 7 of 11 shots on target.

Czech Republic 0-1 Scotland

Ikechi Anya scored on a counter attack in the first half, and that was all Scotland needed to land a win in Prague. The Czechs out shot Scotland 20-11 (6-2 on target), but Hull City’s Allan McGregor was unbeatable in the win.

Wales 1-1 Northern Ireland

Church scores his late penalty (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Watford’s Craig Cathcart netted in the 60th minute for the visitors before Simon Church was adjudged to have been taken down in the box by West Brom’s Gareth McAuley and Wales found an equalizer. No Gareth Bale in this one; The Welsh star is being rested.

Elsewhere
Denmark 2-1 Iceland
Turkey 2-1 Sweden
Ukraine 1-0 Cyprus
Estonia 0-0 Norway
Malta 0-0 Moldova
Greece 2-1 Montenegro
Singapore 2-1 Myanmar
Solomon Islands 2-0 Papua New Guinea