Aritz Aduriz is still defying Father Time at age 36. The striker has already become one of the best forwards in Athletic Club history, but he is still very much focused on the present and accomplishing more with the Basque giants. Right now the Lions are preparing for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Panathinaikos which will help determine whether or not they will advance to the group stage of the tournament. Aduriz recently caught up with Alfonso Herran of AS and discussed the short preseason and Athletic’s lack of summer signings.
“The preseason is the prelude to the real competition. Luckily or unfortunately, we have started sooner than everyone and that means you have to be prepared very quickly. We have not had much preseason time, but we are already playing important games. We can say that we are in the full season now. Today football is very difficult and for a team to only add youth players is uncommon. That makes you different and it has its strengths. We have been boosted by the new players and we will go with them until the end. This club has a special philosophy that I identify with. I am where I want to be and I really enjoy playing for Athletic.”
Aduriz went on to say that he is not a fan of how the media analyzes the performances of strikers. He says that it is easy to just looked at the number of goals that a player scores, but that there is so much more to it than that.
“Unfortunately, that is how the game is analyzed, mainly by the press. Most people read the stats and make an opinion. From within we analyze things more closely and with a different perspective. I don’t want to discredit the press, but they analyze things simply. If you score two goals you played a good game, and if you scored none you have a bad game. It’s not that simple to judge strikers just by goals. I don’t read things written about me. We live in a connected world and it is easy to find information, but I am not very attentive to it.”
From there the 36-year-old stated just how important the Europa League is to Athletic Club. He called it a special competition and that the Lions are hoping to achieve something great this season. He also admitted that he loves playing at the San Mamés, but hopes that the team can emulate the same success on the road.
“The Europa League is special. We compete with different opponents and in venues that we are not used to. The European competition delights us and we would love to do something very special this season. The San Mamés is a stadium in which I am the most comfortable. Playing in front of our fans, with all their support, is really special. Last year we had very good numbers and we want to continue that this season. We would love to be able to bring that form to away games as well.”
In closing, Aduriz was asked if it is still possible to continue improving at his age, to which he immediately responded with a resounding yes. He said that there are many aspects of the game that he can work on and that he learns from players like Iñaki Williams every day.
“At any age you can continue to improve, you need to. There are many qualities, aspects of the game, mental, technical, and tactical in which I can keep improving. Of course, I learn a lot from Williams and all the young people every day, from those around me. I am delighted with them as teammates. The big challenge is to maintain my physical level. If you are fit it is normal to continue learning and improving. In the last few years it seems like playing at an older age is becoming more normal. People live longer, take better care of themselves, and something similar will happen in sports. We have many tools to take great care of our bodies today. Sure, I think about saying goodbye to football, it’s inevitable at some point. But I prefer to live intensely in the present.”
*This interview was conducted by Alfonso Herran of AS and has been translated by InsideAthletic.com