Spanish striker scores first international goal five years after his debut, aged 35

Aritz Aduriz has had a memorable season for Athletic Bilbao

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Picture by: Paolo Giovannini / AP/Press Association Images

Aritz Aduriz has been one of the stories of the season so far in La Liga.

The 35-year-old is the joint top Spanish goalscorer in La Liga with 17 goals. He has scored 31 goals in all club competitions for Athletic Bilbao this season.

Aduriz made one appearance for Spain in 2010, playing the last 15 minutes of a Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania. Up until this season's heroics, there was no reason to assume he would add to that tally on a solitary cap.

On Thursday night, Aduriz returned to the Spanish side, starting in their 1-1 draw against Italy in Undine. The striker scored 20 minutes from time, beating Gianluigi Buffon from close range to open his international account, five years after his debut.

Aduriz is now in pole position to force his way into Vicente del Bosque's squad for Euro 2016. It could be one of the Cinderella stories of the summer.

In late January, Graham Hunter spoke to Off the Ball about why Aduriz has impressed so late in his career. Hunter revealed that if the Bilbao striker made the plane to France, "he would be there on merit."