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Athletic Bilbao hero Aritz Aduriz relishes Barcelona win

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Aritz Aduriz savoured his stunning match-winner for Athletic Bilbao during Friday’s shock 1-0 La Liga opening day victory over Barcelona.

Despite the Catalan giants fielding a strong lineup consisting of summer signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, it was 38-year-old Aduriz who stole the show in front of the San Mames faithful.

The veteran striker, who will retire this season, proved that age is just a number by scoring a spectacular bicycle-kick. He threw himself into the air and acrobatically smashed the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen for an 89th-minute winner.

It was literally Aduriz’s first touch of the game after coming on as a substitute just a minute earlier. The strike also enabled him equal Lionel Messi in having scored in 15 successive La Liga campaigns.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the former Spain international savoured the moment and told Athletic fans he will always help the club until his final day.

“The team has been amazing,” said Aduriz, according to OneFootball.

“There is no better way to start than by adding three points against Barca.

“I said I was going to be there to help Athletic until the last day and today I have been able to prove it.

“The atmosphere of San Mames is always insurmountable, but it is true that today people have taken this game even more eagerly.

“Athletic’s base is young people. You have to give them confidence and go slowly with them. They will help us a lot throughout the year.”

Aduriz, who has now scored 172 goals in 389 games for Athletic, said on his latest strike: “I dedicate it to my family and everyone who supports me. These kind of things make football so beautiful.”

“Everything in life has a start and a finish. I’m grateful to be able to choose to end things where I’m happiest.”

Manager Gaizka Garitano will now prepare Athletic for the trip to Madrid next weekend for a La Liga showdown with Getafe.