INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

Aduriz: "Age is just a number, desire is what counts"

The Athletic striker earned a call-up to the national team on the back of his spectacular season. "

Aritz Aduriz jugador de la selección española, declaraciones
Paco Campos EFE

Aritz Aduriz has banged in 31 goals in 48 games in all competitions this season, including eight against European opposition and four against Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup. A second call-up was only a matter of time and popular clamour reached the ears of Vicente del Bosque earlier in the year. While the Spain manager said, in his mellifluous manner, that the public do not pick the national team, he said of Aduriz: “He’ll have to wait and see in March.

The Athletic striker spoke to the press ahead of Spain’s friendlies with Italy and Romania this week after receiving his second international call up, six years after earning his sole cap for a 15-minute cameo against Lithuania in Euro 2012 qualifying.

A long wait: “I’ve felt very welcome and wanted here, and I’m very grateful to be here. I’ve always tried to play the best I can for my club and I know it was going to be difficult for me to get the call.”

Pressure: “I always feel overwhelmed in these situations but that’s part of football. The press is the link between players and fans and so it’s normal that people were interested in my situation.”

Recall at 35: “It’s not very usual for someone to get a call-up at my age, that’s why I feel so privileged and happy to be here. Age is just a number. What it is important is desire, and I have that.”

Contribution: “I’ll try to give everything I can and do the same thing I do at Athletic. Whether or not I go to the Euros depends on the manager.”

Squad: “Spain has incredible players, they are at an amazing level. It must be amazing to play alongside them.”