Aduriz: I’m proud to be here at my age

Aritz Aduriz has expressed his pride at becoming Spain’s all-time oldest marksman. The Athletic Bilbao forward rose from the bench on the hour and, following a lovely, Vitolo-dummy-decorated move, sealed a 4-0 victory over FYR Macedonia in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying. In the process, at 35 years and 275 days, he broke the record Jose Maria Pena set in 1930.

“How would it bother me?” Aduriz asked. “It’s a sense of pride to be here at my age. I’m enjoying it, pleased with my work.

“I always give my all to help the team – I’ll never be found wanting for effort. It took a lot for us to break the deadlock – it’s not easy when your opponents defend so deep.

“We’re satisfied, the three points were very necessary. We have a great team. We were missing important players, but the ones here are of a high calibre.”

The result kept Spain top of Group G, above Italy on goal difference and Israel by a point. Coach Julen Lopetegui reserved special praise for another substitute, 29-year-old Napoli winger Jose Callejon.

“We’re delighted with him,” said the former goalkeeper. “He only got a few minutes, but we’re very pleased with his performance.”

Spain have qualified for the last ten World Cups.