Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier receives Athletic Bilbao award
Last Updated: 29/04/15 9:43am
Sky Sports pundit Matt Le Tissier has been honoured for his contribution to football – by Spanish club Athletic Bilbao.
Le Tissier became the first recipient of their “One Club Man Award”, designed to honour those who have spent their entire career at one side (excluding Atletico).
The award was presented at half-time in Tuesday night’s La Liga match with David Moyes’ Real Sociedad - after a montage of some of his spectacular goals for Southampton were shown on the stadium's big screen.
“It certainly was a big surprise and a very pleasant one too,” Le Tissier told Bilbao’s official website. “I am incredibly proud to be the first to receive this award.”
Bilbao highlighted Le Tissier’s standing among his peers and his unswerving loyalty to Saints as reasons for awarding him the inaugural One Club Man Award.
“What is entirely clear and obvious is that your reputation in the world of football is unmatched,” they said of him.
“Many great players have expressed their admiration about you. Pele, for instance, was quoted saying that if you had been Brazilian you would always have been among the starting 11.
“Barcelona’s midfielder Xavi recently said: ‘The man I absolutely loved watching as a kid was Matt Le Tissier after seeing the highlights of his extraordinary goals.
“’His talent was out of the norm. He could dribble past seven or eight players but without speed – he just almost walked past them. For me, he was sensational.
“’We had a programme on Spanish TV with the best goals from around Europe. He was always the star.’
“But for us, what we value most are your values and principles, your loyalty to the same club during your entire career.
“We see ourselves very much reflected in this value and in these principles. For this reason, it is a true honour for us to give you our first One-Club Man Award. This way you will always be part of our history.”
Le Tissier told Sky Sports News HQ on Tuesday evening: "It is amazing and I have flown over to Bilbao this morning.
"I have been told by people of a certain age, shall we say, that Spanish TV first started showing English football around the start of the Premier League. Those were probably the best years of my career and it seems some of the Spanish people took me to their heart a little bit!
"Bilbao actually play in red and white because someone came over to England many years ago, and was told to get a football kit for the club.
"When he got back to Southampton he remembered he did not have it, so he brought 50 Southampton shirts.
"Half went to Athletic Bilbao and the other half to Atletico Madrid, who also play in the red and white stripes!"