Two Athletic Club veterans bid farewell to squad ahead of final clash with Real Madrid

Two stalwarts of Athletic Club’s defence over recent years have bid farewell to the rest of the squad ahead their imminent departures.

Save for brief spells at Real Sociedad, Numancia and Real Valladolid at the start of his career, 35-year-old Mikel Balenziaga has spent his entire career at Athletic Club. Capable of playing at right or left-back, Balenziaga has featured for at least 1,500 minutes in every season at Athletic, with the exception of this campaign.

He will leave Los Leones after just 127 minutes and four appearances the entire campaign, with his contract expiring too. In total he has made 321 appearances for Athletic, including 1 goal and 13 assists.

Joining him on the way out is Inigo Martinez, who has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, is also out of contract. The 32-year-old centre-back has made 117 appearances for Athletic since moving from Real Sociedad in 2017, but has been plagued by injury this campaign.

As per Diario AS, on Wednesday the pair held a goodbye dinner with the squad before they leave.

Athletic have one final assignment this season – beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. If they do so, and Osasuna do not win, Los Leones could secure a Conference League spot and European football for the first time since 2016.

Tags Athletic Club Barcelona Inigo Martinez Mikel Balenziaga

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