Aritz Aduriz has shown his gratitude in a farewell press conference organised by Athletic Club at San Mames.
The 39-year-old announced his retirement from football on Wednesday because of ongoing fitness problems, cutting short his final season at his beloved Athletic.
“Athletic are in very good hands,” Aduriz said.
“The hardest thing won’t be not playing these remaining 11 league games, nor such a desired Copa [del Rey] final… it will be not being able to be with this group again.
“I’m going to miss them a lot. Thanks to everyone for this marvellous and unforgettable journey.”
The circumstances didn’t allow for supporters to attend Aduriz’s farewell at San Mames, but he was typically gracious nonetheless.
“This is already much more than I deserved,” he said.
“It’s not necessary to have 50,000 people here.
“I’ve had a ton of tributes at San Mames, in each match, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
“Every Sunday was a tribute.
“Talking about yourself is always difficult, but if [people] remember me for something, let it be because I did everything to play with this shirt and that I always tried to do the best I knew.”
Aduriz’s final goal for Athletic came in acrobatic fashion with that dramatic last-minute winner against Barcelona in August.
“The day of my last goal against Barcelona might be the most amazing [memory] because Yara and Noa, my daughters, were aware of what was happening,” he said.
“I could celebrate it with them because they were watching, just like anyone else.”
Aduriz will now undergo an operation on his hip on May 30 before coming back to the training ground to recover.
As the Athletic team gear up for the remaining weeks of the season, the legendary striker will be there to support them all the way.