Valverde: Aduriz better with age

Ernesto Valverde has hailed Aritz Aduriz as a player who gets better with age after his 100th Athletic Bilbao goal on Thursday against Partizan Belgrade.

The 34-year-old netted his 15th goal of the season in a 5-1 Europa League victory to become a centurion for Los Leones and move the side within touching distance of the knockout stages.

“For some time now, he’s been giving the impression that he’s got better with each month, not only for the goals he scores but for his participation in the game,” he said after the match.

“In the past he was a streaky player, but now he’s in a spell where scoring goals are a given.

“He’s in a perfect run of form and we hope he scores many more.

“I know Del Bosque can call up Aduriz, but I don’t know if he will. Every Coach does his best for his team, in this case, [Vicente] del Bosque wants the best for the national team.

“We’re very respectful of the choices he makes, but it’s not just a matter of Aduriz because there are many others who can be called up.

“We’re delighted that we have solutions in attack and also throughout the team.

“Scoring goals reinforces us a little more. We know if we play our game we’re capable of scoring lots of goals, and we do it sometimes.”

“We initially encountered many difficulties to overcome the first line of pressure, but we quickly went 2-1 up and that reassured us and made everything a little easier.

“The most important thing was to move three points clear at the top of our group [L].

“The next game can be decisive because if we win in Augsburg we can mathematically secure first place.”

Tags Aritz Aduriz Ernesto Valverde Partizan Belgrade