Things are not well in Bilbao. Athletic, one of three clubs to have never been relegated from Spain’s top division (the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona), are mired in the drop zone of LaLiga with only 16 points from 17 matches. However, a moment of brilliant respite was briefly offered by 37-year-old striker Aritz Aduriz yesterday when he notched this audacious penalty against Real Valladolid.
The wily veteran has seen some shit in his career, but his powers are on the wane. That is, of course, no criticism to the man fast approaching his 40s, but after scoring a remarkable 20 league goals in 2015-16, his return has steadily dwindled to 16 in 16-17, nine in 17-18 and only two in 12 appearances this campaign (both coming from the spot).
Bilbao’s cantera policy is somewhat unmasked by the fact that Aduriz still leads the line at his senior age — although more was expected of Iñaki Williams at this stage of his career. Regardless, this pen is a thing of beauty — like the city, like the club and like the San Mamés.
Valladolid would equalize in the 92nd minute via Oscar Plano, leaving Gaizka Garitano fuming. Spare a thought for Bilbao this holiday season.