Madrid (AFP)

"It’s time to say goodbye": Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz will retire from playing at 39, he announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

"And yes, the farewell time has arrived and this is the end of this unforgettable and wonderful journey for me from start to finish. Thank you very much," the player posted on his Twitter account, with a photo of him child, a balloon in his arms.

"The time has come. I have often said that it is football that leaves you before you want to give it up. Yesterday, the doctors recommended that I go through surgery as soon as possible to get me to pose a prosthesis to replace my hip, so as to at least face everyday life as normally as possible, "said Aduriz in his message in Spanish, English and Basque.

"Unfortunately, my body said stop. I can no longer help my teammates as I would like and as they deserve. It is also the life of a professional sportsman. It is simple, very simple," detailed the center-forward, who will not be playing the dream King's Cup final against Real Sociedad, rival of Bilbao, postponed to a later date due to the pandemic of new coronavirus.

Born in San Sebastian, some 100 km from Bilbao, Aduriz took his first steps with the first Athletic team in 2002. He then passed through Burgos, Valladolid, Mallorca and Valencia, before returning to Bilbao in 2012.

With Athletic, he won his first trophy with the 2016 Spanish Super Cup of which he became the hero: against the reigning Spanish champion, FC Barcelona, ​​he scored a hat-trick in the first leg (4-0 ) before scoring the goal of the tie in the return match (1-1)

This season again, at 38, he showered FC Barcelona at home on the first day of La Liga with a magnificent aerobatic return in the 89th minute (1-0).

Aduriz finished twice top scorer in the Europa League (10 goals in 2015/16 and 8 goals in 2017/18), and twice top scorer for his team in the Spanish Championship (18 goals in 2014/15 and 20 goals in 2015/16). He also has 13 selections with Spain.

© 2020 AFP