Larrazabal, Athletic’s glory, praises João Pinto’s choice for ‘One Club Award’.
João Pinto was honored by Athletic with the ‘One Club Award’ and will go to San Mamés to welcome Getafe on the 27th, receiving the famous distinction given by the Basque emblem to several players who dedicated their career to one club. From 2015 until today, Le Tissier (Southampton), Maldini (Milan), Sepp Maier (Bayern), Puyol (Barcelona), Billy McNeill (Celtic), Giggs (Manchester United) and Bochini (Independiente) have been awarded annually, now including the former Porto full-back, who lifted the 1987 European Cup, in this gallery of illustrious people, for his 16 seasons and incredible 587 matches for the Dragons.
With his son Gaizka playing in Portugal, at Casa Pia, Aitor Larrazabal, one of the many Basque lions, faithful to Athletic throughout his career, explains the transcendent dimension of this honor.
« It seems to me to be a fantastic distinction, as it includes players who spent their entire lives defending the same club. This time he smiled at João Pinto, who was rightly selected to receive a very beautiful award, which impresses anyone who shares the values of dedication to a shirt. It’s an example for many players in Portugal and everywhere, who see this possibility of always playing for their club », says Larrazabal, boasting about Athletic. « It’s tremendous that there is a club so small but so big in these matters, honoring these athletes. I have to congratulate João Pinto », said the former right-back of the San Mamés emblem.
« It was something historic and unforgettable to have played for Athletic, from the age of 11. I started defending the club very early when it was a dream of all boys in this Basque land. I reached a total of 14 seasons, 445 games, 43 goals. I am now the tenth player with the most games in the club’s history. That makes me privileged, delighted to be from Athletic, a symbol that I love, above all. It’s my second family. »