‘An exceptional case’ – Aritz Aduriz, the striker who got better and better

The 39-year-old, robbed by the crisis and injury of a cup final farewell, had a long road to becoming an Athletic Bilbao legend

Even the man who turned back time eventually ran out of it, denied the perfect farewell by a hip that needs replacing and a virus that has stopped everything. There is something cruel about the way it came to a close, and in what lies before him, but when he announced his retirement on Wednesday Aritz Aduriz had a message for everyone: “Don’t worry about me.”

In the midst of a situation “far more serious, far more painful” that has caused “irreparable damage”, this doesn’t matter, he said. And yet it does, if any of it does – that recurring theme of these past two months. Not least as a symbol of the pandemic, how it reaches everything. Of football’s reach too, what it means, way beyond the medals and the money.

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