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Athletic Bilbao Striker Etxeberria to Play for Free
    2008-10-01 20:10:34     Xinhua

Athletic Club Bilbao's veteran striker Joseba Etxeberria has agreed a deal with the club in which he will effectively play next season for free.

Exteberria, who joined Athletic from Real Sociedad in the summer of 1995, is the longest serving player in the squad and always stated that he wanted to end his career at Athletic.

The forward is now 31 years old and his original deal expired at the end of this season in June 2009. However, he and Athletic have agreed on a formula that will keep him there for a further year.

Exteberria will now be paid the money he would earn this season over this campaign and the following one - up to June 2010, which is when he plans to retire from professional football.

That effectively means he will play the 2009-2010 season for free in a gesture of goodwill to the club where he has spent the past 13 years.

"It is a decision I have thought a lot about. It will be 15 years playing in the Primera Liga and that is more than enough," Exteberria told Bilbao based paper el Correo Vasco on Wednesday.

"I realize that by then I will be 32 years old, but I also know that you have to let other people step forward."

"I want to play these next two years, but I want to do so at the maximum level," he said.



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