Aduriz gets better with age


With seven goals in La Liga to his name, Aduriz, the former Athletic Bilbao and Valladolid forward, has been a major catalyst for the club's impressive start to the season, writes William Turvill.

After spending the majority of his footballing years at mid-table teams in the Spanish Primera Division, Aritz Aduriz made the biggest move of his career when he joined Valencia in July.

Since linking up with Los Che, who lost the talismanic duo of David Villa and David Silva to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively in the summer, the Spaniard has impressed every critics and manager Unai Emery must be delighted that Aduriz chose Valencia over Turkish side Fenerbahce.

Cash-strapped Valencia needed the money that they gained from selling Villa and Silva but, equally, they required players who could begin to fill the void left by two of Spain's World Cup-winning heroes.

Step forward Aduriz, who was bought from Real Mallorca for a sum believed to be around 4million euros and has performed far better than Valencia could have hoped for.

The 29-year-old came close to helping Mallorca qualify for the UEFA Champions League last season, but was unproven in a team with the prestige and aspirations of Valencia. Despite a slight lack of discipline, already having picked up seven yellow cards and one red, the striker has scored nine goals in just over 20 appearances in all competitions so far this season.

Aduriz has also had no trouble adapting to Champions League football, scoring two goals so far and helping Valencia reach the last 16 of the competition. With Emery's men also currently flying high in fourth in La Liga, these are exciting times for Aduriz and Valencia.

In recognition of his success at the Mestalla, Aduriz was, at a surprisingly late age, called up to the Spanish national squad last year after an injury to Liverpool striker Fernando Torres. His sole appearance so far came as a substitute in a 3-1 victory over Lithuania in October.

Although he is unlikely to feature on a regular basis for Spain with the likes of Villa and Torres for competition, Aduriz is just keen to grasp any opportunities that come his way. “I am very happy to link up with the world champions, and I am happy to be there because it's difficult to do so. If I am called again I would welcome it, but right now I want to enjoy this moment,” he said.

Aduriz, who featured for the last 15 minutes of the Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania, was quick to outline the role that his move to Valencia has played in paving the way to be involved at international level.

“The fact that I am at Valencia and playing with this level of players has made this possible. I'll try to enjoy it and live the moment,” he said.

With seven goals in La Liga to his name, the former Athletic Bilbao and Valladolid forward has been a major catalyst for the club's impressive start to the season and progressing in the Champions League is an impressive feat given the financial situation at Valencia. German Bundesliga side Schalke now await the Spanish side in the knockout stages.

It is a draw that Aduriz, who this time last year was linked with a switch to join fellow Spaniard Roberto Martinez at English Premier League outfit Wigan, will no doubt be pleased with and gives him the perfect chance to send out another reminder of his undoubted quality.

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