Aritz Aduriz has insisted that “age is merely a number, what matters is the desire” after the Athletic Bilbao veteran’s first Spain call-up in six years.
Aduriz, the season’s leading Spanish goalscorer with 31 in all competitions, has been selected for La Roja’s games against Italy and Romania this week, and he made it clear he did not find his 35 years to be a hindrance on his international prospects.
“I feel wanted, I didn’t expect to be here or that I’d be talked about so much,” he said at a Press conference.
“I’m very grateful. My case is a little peculiar as it’s not usual for a player to return to their national team at my age, so I feel very fortunate and grateful. I have no words of thanks.
“[On Euro 2016], only the Coach can answer that question. I limit my thoughts on trying to do my best, playing as I have for Athletic and bringing everything I can.
"These are our last two games [before the tournament]. In between there are League games, but the are good yardsticks to see where the national team are. We’ll try to be at a good level.
“Spain have incredible players and it must be great to play alongside them.
“Hopefully I can get on the pitch with them and help them to win games.
“The national team have a particular style and it’s true that sometimes the forwards don’t get too involved.
“[On who he thinks is Spain’s best No 9], I don’t think I can answer that question as there are some great forwards both in and out of this squad.
“[On comparisons with Miroslav Klose], I’m not lucky enough to know him personally, but I look at players who have maintained a high level at my age and Klose is a great reference.
“He’s a great mirror to look at. If I’m not mistaken, he’s the World Cup’s all-time top scorer.
“Age is merely a number, what matters is the desire. I have it and I feel very good.
“Football involves more media, more interviews and requests than before.
“I always feel overwhelmed and don’t feel comfortable in these situations, so we have to take them as best as possible. You are our link with the fans, and that’s normal.”