Etxeberria signs 'free' contract
Joseba Etxeberria has signed a deal that will see him play the rest of his career at Bilbao for free.
By Carla Hilton
Last Updated: 02/10/08 5:30pm
Joseba Etxeberria has put pen-to-paper on a one-year contract extension at Athletic Bilbao that will see him play out the rest of his career for free.
The 31-year-old has made the huge gesture in a bid to give something back to the fans for their loyalty to him throughout his 15-year stint with the club.
Etxeberria was just 17 when he joined the club and says there is no other place he would rather finish his career.
"I wanted to do this gesture but never, in any moment, did I want to set a precedent," he said.
The loyal striker is hoping to reach 500 games played when he retires after a 15-year career at San Mames.
During his professional career, Etxeberria boasts 12 goals in 53 appearances for Spain and 101 Spanish league goals for Athletic.
He also figured twice in the European Championship and played at the 1998 World Cup.
Club president Fernando Garcia Macau is completely bowled over by the huge gesture, calling it a "football first."
"From the club's standpoint there are not words to thank such a gesture," Garcia Macau said.