Susaeta 'hurt' by discussion around Athletic Bilbao exit

By Ben Spratt 8 May 2019 3
Susaeta 'hurt' by discussion around Athletic Bilbao exit

Markel Susaeta says he has been hurt by the discussion surrounding his exit from Athletic Bilbao, insisting he had always intended to spend his entire career at the club.

The Athletic captain informed the club last week he intends to leave at the end of the season, refusing to consider the offer they were willing to make.

Athletic stated on Monday that Susaeta would comment "in the coming days" and he has addressed the media to explain his decision.

Susaeta would not delve into the "circumstances" that led to his exit, although he claimed it was in the best interests of himself and the club for them to part ways.

"Anyone who knows me knows I am a discreet person who does not like the headlines," he said. "The controversy surrounding my contract renewal in the past season has hurt me a lot.

"Maybe I am to blame for not talking or for putting the interest of the club over myself or for always accepting this role that could impact me.

"I have informed the club that I do not want to continue next season because I think the best for both is that I do not continue in the club.

"I have not spoken throughout the season of my situation except when I was asked directly or when things have been said that have not been true - for example, that I had an offer from the previous board.

"I conveyed my decision to not even know the content of their offer, although, at this moment, the club tried to change my mind and I am grateful that they wanted me to stay.

"My dream has always been to be a one-club man with Athletic, but, as I explained to them, circumstances have not allowed this to happen. Allow me not to talk about them and be discreet about this.

"This is why the time has come to step aside and support the club as a partner and not as a player.

"I do not know where I will be next season - I have not thought about it yet - but I will be playing football because I still want to play and train every day."

Susaeta has made 506 appearances in 12 seasons with Athletic, who will also see Ander Iturraspe and Mikel Rico depart at the end of the campaign.

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Ben Spratt