Athletic Bilbao defender Yeray Alvarez has put his gratitude on record after the encouragement he has received following his diagnosis for testicular cancer.

The 21-year-old will undergo surgery in the Basque city on Tuesday to have a tumour removed after the club confirmed the player – who made his first-team debut for Athletic in September and has now made 17 appearances – had the illness. (

Alvarez said via his Instagram account: "Thanks to everyone for their messages and their support, I'm very grateful. I'm certain that everything is going to go well and that I will return stronger,” said Alvarez on his Instagram account.

The Spanish football league issued a statement of support for the defender on their Twitter account which read: "La Liga wants to send its full support to Yeray. Courage and lots of strength,” while the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) also took to twitter: "Much courage Yeray. You have us at your side. Strength Yeray!"

Precise details about Yeray’s condition are still not clear, with Athletic chief doctor Josean Lekue stating on the club's website that "we don't want to speculate. It's serious and we need to act fast."

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