Artiz Adúriz: Barcelona, Bicycle Kicks and a Bust-up 🇬🇧

88 minutes gone and the 4th official’s board goes up, number 20 enters the field. Less than 60 seconds later and with his first touch, 38 year old Artiz Adúriz, in his final season as a professional, smashes a spectacular overhead kick into the corner of the goal. With minimum effort and maximum end product, Adúriz reminded everyone of just what they will be missing next season, in the opening game of La Liga 2019 against the reigning champions Barcelona no less.

Adúriz’s long and distinguished career was full of ups and downs. He arrived at Mallorca in the Summer of 2008 after being discarded by his love, Athletic Bilbao as they were named then. Mallorca paid their highest transfer fee in the club’s history, 6 million Euros, to acquire the services of Adúriz, desperately seeking a replacement for Daniel Güiza who had scored 27 league goals the year before.

A Quick Impact

With Mallorca having just finished 7th in La Liga, Adúriz quickly made an impact and finished the club’s top scorer in his first season, helping the team to a respectable mid table finish. The following year however was when it all came together for Adúrizand the team under the stewardship of Gregorio Manzano. They finished 5th in the league, qualifying for Europe with Adúriz netting 13 goals in the process.

The Basque striker is renowned in Mallorca as a warrior who excels when the ball is in the air, as we were all reminded against Barcelona at San Mamés last Friday. He is thought of as one of the best number 9’s in the recent history of the club.

Bust Ups

He was always demanding of high standards of his team mates, driving them on to higher things. Never was this more evident than in a game against Malaga in 2010 when, in the closing moments of the game an argument broke out between Adúriz and his strike partner Alhassane Keita. Mallorca were chasing a winning goal and a European spot when Adúriz became angry at not receiving a pass from his Guinean team mate, so much so that a fight ensued between the two during the game on the pitch and they had to be separated. Rather than alienate Adúriz from the squad and Mallorca supporters, it proved to strengthen the bond with his commitment and desire to win evident for all to see.

The striker was not only a leader and talisman for the side, he also played in the perfect style for the football that manager Manzano wanted to play, holding the ball well, able to play with his back to goal but also skilful and no slouch when running with the ball.

Gone but not Forgotten

Adúriz even managed to have a positive impact on Mallorca’s results after he had left the club. On the final day of the season when playing for Valencia in 2011 he scored against Deportivo La Coruña, relegating them in the process and ensuring that Mallorca stayed in LaLiga.

As a result, the Basque player has a special place in the heart of all Mallorquinistas and Adúriz has always shown affection for Mallorca even after leaving the club. He was pictured earlier this year celebrating inside Son Moix following the club’s sensational 3-0 play off second leg victory over Deportivo La Coruna that secured the club’s return to La Liga. Mallorca has missed him, this time next year Athletic Club and the whole of La Liga will too.

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