Athletico Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced his retirement from football.
The 39-year-old Spanish footballer revealed in a post on social media that he made the decision to retire after doctors advised him to undergo surgery to have his hip replaced.
Aduriz’s message began: “The time has come. Many times, I have said that football will leave you before you leave it.”
“Yesterday, the Doctors told me to go see the Surgeon sooner rather than later to get a prosthetic replacement on my hip, so I could continue living my everyday life normally.”
“Unfortunately, my body has said enough. I can’t help my team-mates as I should, nor the way they deserve. That is the life of a professional athlete. Simple, very simple.”
“I don’t want you to worry about me, this is just an anecdote. Let’s forget about the finals we dreamed about because we will have time to say goodbye. Yes, the time has come to say goodbye, and this is how the road ends for me.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Aduriz said.
Aduriz had planned the 2019/2020 as his last season, and it seemed he would have gotten the chance of a famous farewell with Bilbao set to face rivals Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey final, but the suspension of the Spanish season due to the outbreak of the pandemic means there is no certainty if the Copa del Rey final will be played.
Aduriz began his senior career with Athletico Bilbao, but also played elsewhere at Real Valladolid, Real Mallorca, and Valencia.
He earned his first call-up to the Spanish national side in 2010, before being recalled for the Euro 2016 six years later at the age of 35.
He scored 158 goals, 118 of them for Athletico Bilbao, and registered 49 assists. His last game was his best game, when on the first day of the season he scored an overhead kick against Barcelona to seal the victory for his side.