One of the big names in Spanish football in the past decade has, sadly, been forced to announce retirement due to an unfortunate hip injury. This is Athletic Bilbao legend Aritz Aduriz, who made the major announcement through his social media early this week.

The 39-year-old published an emotional farewell letter to Bilbao fans. Aduriz claimed that injuries were the main factor for this extreme decision. Bilbao fans knew that Aduriz would retire by the end of the season, and if it wasn’t for the pandemic, he would have probably done so.

Aduriz’s hip injury requires surgery, and would surely get him out of the rest of the season. It’s really sad because, with that, he will not be able to play the first-ever Basque derby in the King’s Cup final.

Spain has some regions just like Catalonia, who dream of political independence from the Spanish central government, and the Basque country is one of them. Beyond the natural rivalry between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad, there’s also this major factor to be considered as well.

Basque-born Aduriz started his career exactly at the team he was at the time of his retirement. Athletic Bilbao. In 2008, he signed for Mallorca where he excelled with 23 goals in 69 matches. In 2010 he went to Valencia, and there, he made it to the Spain National Team, and scored some important goals for Spain, even though he wasn’t called up for the Euro 2012.

However, 2012 was good for Aduriz anyway, as he returned to Bilbao, and stayed there until nowadays. He became Bilbao’s 6th all-time top scorer with 172 goals and conducted the Basque side to the Spanish Super Cup title back in 2015.

Some of us may have never heard or paid attention to Aduriz before, but he played just like a classic nine, always scoring his goals, especially from close-range. I’m sure Bilbao players will play not only for the King’s Cup title but also for Aritz Aduriz.

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