Friday, October 03, 2008

Etxeberria's Gesture

This note comes to us thanks to RTÉ Sports:

Bilbao striker to play for free

Friday, 3 October 2008 13:41

Long-serving Athletic Bilbao forward Joseba Etxeberria has announced he is set to retire at the end of the 2009/10 season, and that he will play his final year in football for free.

The 31-year-old has signed a one-year contract extension which will see him receive no wages from the Basque club for the whole of next season.

At a press conference on Thursday the forward, who joined Athletic at the age of 17 in 1995, revealed he asked directors for the ground-breaking deal as a gesture to repay the club for their support throughout his career.However, he does not expect other players to follow his lead.

'I wanted to make this gesture, but at no time did I want to set a precedent,' he told reporters.

'We're in a professional world where it's legitimate for each person to defend their rights and their contracts, and I think that's how it should be.

'But this is a gesture I'm making to show my gratitude for the love I've received during so many years. It's something I've been mulling over for a long time.'

Despite being only 32 by the end of the deal, Etxeberria added he had chosen to retire because 'I've been going a long time and it's time to step aside for new people'.

Bilbao president Fernando Garcia Macua added:' Etxeberria's gesture of playing at absolutely no cost to the club is surely a unique case in world football.'

What a guy!

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