ARITZ Aduriz, the 39-year-old striker for Athletic Bilbao, has announced his retirement from professional football.
Aduriz has spent most of his professional career at the northern Spanish club, with brief stints at Valencia and Mallorca.
During his career, he has racked up a total of 221 goals and has earned 13 caps for his national side.
During Spain’s 4-0 victory over Macedonia in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, Aduriz became the sides oldest ever goal scorer at the age of 35 years and 275 days.
In an emotional post on Instagram, the San Sebastian born striker said: “Unfortunately my body has said enough. I cannot help my teammates as I would like and as they deserve. This is also the life of a professional athlete. Simple, very simple.”
Aduriz has used the suspension of the La Liga championship due to the coronavirus to hang up his boots and undergo a much needed hip replacement operation.
“Yesterday, the doctors told me to go see the surgeon, sooner rather than later, to get a prosthetic to replace my hip and try to go about my everyday life, as normally as possible. Unfortunately, my body has said ‘enough’.”
Training for the leagues top clubs began in earnest this week with groups of up to 10 players on the pitch at any one time.
La Liga president Javier Tebas is still aiming for a June 12 kick off if the de-escalation goes to plan.