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Spanish wizards hang up football boots

Their time at Macarthur FC was short and sweet – just one season – but  Spanish wizards Beñat Etxebarria (above) and Markel Susaeta (right) will be remembered for many years by the club and its fans.

The pair have today announced their retirement from football.

Two of the most experienced players to grace Australian shores during the 16 year history of the A-League, the Basque duo were instrumental in the Bulls’ inaugural season.

Having almost scored with his very first touch in the A-League, Beñat’s 72nd minute free-kick against the Western Sydney Wanderers will always hold a special place in the hearts of Bulls fans.

The maestro’s thundering shot struck captain Mark Milligan in the back, deflecting the ball in for the club’s first competitive goal.

Etching his name into the club’s history books, Markel Susaeta showed his experience and class, netting the Bulls first goal on home soil in match week 3 against the Wellington Phoenix, following a lovely, flighted pass from Beñat.

The pair finish their careers having played on some of football’s biggest stages including Champions League, Europa League and LaLiga.

Markel Susaeta’s decorated career spans 507 games for Athletic Bilbao, including 379 LaLiga, 54 Europa League and six Champions League appearances, before heading down under first with Melbourne City in 2019 and then with Macarthur FC.

Beñat Etxebarria finishes his career having played 459 professional matches, 242 games for Athletic Bilboa, 118 for Real Betis Balompié, before playing his first club football outside of Spain, for the Bulls this season.

Bulls head coach Ante Milicic paid tribute to the pair.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have had players of Beñat and Markel’s calibre join our football club, and to have them part of our inaugural playing squad was very special.

“Whether on the training park or during matches, the knowledge and experience they have shown and provided the younger players in our squad has been invaluable.

“We wish them and their families safe travels as they head back to Spain,” Milicic said.

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