Raul Garcia

Raul Garcia announces retirement after leading Athletic Bilbao to Copa del Rey glory

Raul Garcia has announced that he will retire from football at the end of the season. The Athletic Bilbao star has been playing senior-level football since 2004 and moved to the Basque side in 2015. 

The Spanish forward has played just twice for the national side but has over 600 appearances in club football. He started his career at Osasuna, before joining Atletico Madrid in 2007.

The forward was loaned back to Osasuna in 2011 before he joined Athletic Bilbao in 2015. He has played 356 matches for them, scoring 83 times and assisting 40 goals. 

Also Read: Athletic Club 1-1 Real Mallorca – Bilbao Wins Copa del Rey Cup | Player Ratings

Announcing his decision on Monday, Garcia said:

“The decision did not depend on winning the title or not, but this is a beautiful culmination of my career. I want people to feel proud that I have worn this shirt and defended the club’s values from day one. I have given my all, always thought of my teammates and the club.”

The forward was playing a bit-part role this season and has not scored yet in his 18 appearances. He managed just one assist in those games, and it came in the 2-1 win over UE Rubi in the first round of the Copa del Rey. 

The forward will end his career with 2 Copa del Rey medals, one of which was earned earlier this month. He also has a La Liga medal, a Supercopa de Espana win, and the UEFA Europa League medal to his honors. 

The Spaniard also managed to win the UEFA Super Cup twice while he was with Atletico Madrid and also finished runner up in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League. 

Athletic Bilbao release statement on Raul Garcia

Athletic Bilbao were quick to release a statement to honor their legend and confirmed the forward’s decision to retire. Their statement read:

“Raúl García, a true legend, has decided to leave football behind at the age of 37, a week after his greatest achievement at Athletic Club, La Copa, a match where he did his last great service to the team to date by decisively scoring the first penalty of the shootout. He told his teammates about the decision this morning at the Lezama facilities, in the gym, the place where he has spent hours and hours every day to extend his career as much as possible.”

“The player from Navarre has accumulated incredible numbers in Spanish football, where he is third in the ranking for La Liga games with 602 matches (109 goals), only behind Andoni Zubizarreta and Joaquín (622). Raúl García, an example of professionalism and effort, has made 356 appearances in nine seasons at Athletic, to which must be added 329 at Atlético de Madrid and 126 at Osasuna, the club where he was formed.”

“With no less than 20 seasons as a professional in the highest category, the player from Zizur has played 811 professional matches to date, scoring 148 goals. In addition, he has been able to adapt perfectly to the different positions that football has required of him. Raúl García started as a midfielder, became an attacking midfielder, and ended up at Athletic as a striker due to a need to find a replacement for Aritz Aduriz.”

Athletic Bilbao are fifth in the Spanish top flight this season and have a chance to finish in the top 4. However, they would need Garcia’s former club Atletico Madrid to slip up.