Aritz Aduriz hopes to end his Athletic Bilbao career by winning the Copa del Rey, admitting he had grown tired of watching Barcelona and Real Madrid “win everything”.
Athletic knocked Barca out of the competition at the quarter-final stage last week thanks to a stoppage-time own goal from Sergio Busquets.
Madrid had earlier been defeated 4-3 at home by Athletic’s Basque rivals Real Sociedad, marking the first time in 65 years that Spain’s grandest two clubs had been eliminated from the Copa on the same day.
The semi-finals will see Athletic face Granada and Sociedad take on Mirandes, with the decision to reformat the competition by removing two-legged ties prior to the last four paying dividends for some of Spain’s lesser lights.
Aduriz was part of the team beaten by Barca in the 2015 final, during the Catalans’ run of winning the trophy in four consecutive years.
Indeed, Athletic have lost three Copa finals to Barca since 2009, and Aduriz is now eager to end his career by making the most of a more level playing field.
2 – Real Madrid & Barcelona have been eliminated the same date together in Copa for the first time since 29th May 1955 when Real Madrid were eliminated by Sevilla & Barcelona were eliminated by @Athletic_en, both in Semifinals. Earthquake#AthleticBarça #RealMadridRealSociedad pic.twitter.com/cOv4ATeAeR
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 6, 2020
“[The new format] is not discredited; on the contrary, it has more value,” said the striker at the Panenka magazine gala. “We are a little tired of seeing Barcelona and Real Madrid win everything.
“But it is nice to see competitions with more dynamism. You can see it in England, [where] it’s enriching. It’s a format that people like.
“I have been fantasising about [winning the cup] for a long time. At the beginning, it was a fantasy, and it may be closer now, although it is very difficult.
“Imagine retiring from football this season and winning a title. It’s anyone’s dream.”
Aduriz also made it clear he is in favour of VAR, despite persistent criticism of the technology from across Europe’s top leagues.
VAR has been criticised since its introduction, but Aduriz stressed he is in favour of the new technology.
“I love VAR,” he said. “It is clear that we have to improve. It is new and it will evolve, but there is more success than the opposite.
“It makes me calmer on the pitch.”
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