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Written by Olaleye Oluwadamilola

Iker Muniain has given Athletic Club notice that he intends to depart at the end of the current campaign. Another example of the captain’s unwavering devotion to Athletic Club is the way and timing he has chosen to bid farewell to his boyhood side.

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After 15 seasons in the starting lineup and 557 games played, Muniain is leaving on top, having realized his aim of arriving at La Gabarra as an Athletic champion. He is now Athletic’s second-highest appearance maker ever, behind only Jose Angel Iribar’s 614.

Muniain’s significance is shown in the stats that stand in for his Athletic career. Iker joined Lezama at the age of 12, quickly rising through the ranks to tie the club record for youngest debutant, Piru Gainza, when he made his first team debut at the age of 16. Iker played his debut official game on July 30, 2009, at San Mamés against Young Boys. In the second leg of that match, he scored the youngest goal in Athletic history.


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Since then, Muniain has played in fifteen seasons of La Liga, the Copa, the Champions League, and the Europa League, totaling 75 goals. Along with winning two Super Cups (in 2014–15 and 2019–20), the skipper most recently broke a 40-year record by winning Athletic Club’s coveted 25th Copa trophy.

Iker finished second in the Copa del Rey five times and first in the Europa League once. His legendary goals will always be remembered in Zurigorri history. He rushed like a rocket to get to a loose ball in the area during his goal against David de Gea in Manchester, or he scored in Naples during the first leg of our illustrious Champions League play-off.

Even with Iker’s exceptional data, statistics alone cannot fully capture the playmaker’s noteworthy impact to Athletic.

It’s also commendable that Muniain announced his resignation in a way that will only enhance his legacy. Weeks after leading Athletic to Copa triumph and the ensuing La Gabarra party in Bilbao, he bids farewell to his favorite club.

Athletic Club is happy to inform that a memorial service and farewell party for the captain will take place at San Mamés soon. Because this is such a momentous occasion, everyone is welcome to attend.

Meanwhile…

Raúl García has also 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.

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The player from Navarre has accumulated incredible numbers in Spanish football, where he is third in the ranking for LaLiga 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.

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