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SBD Global/June 7, 2013/Facilities

Athletic Bilbao's Final Game At 100-Year-Old San Mames Features Former Players

La Liga side Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday "bid a final farewell to its iconic San Mames Stadium with an emotion-filled friendly match in which three of the team's legendary players took the field shortly before the final whistle," according to the EFE. The "big surprise of Wednesday evening's contest, which pitted Athletic Bilbao against a group of players from the northern Spanish province of Biscay, came when 70-year-old Jose Angel Iribar," suited up and entered the game in the closing seconds. Former Athletic Bilbao greats Daniel "Dani" Ruiz Bazan and Julen Guerrero also came on as late-game substitutes and were warmly received by the fans, as were two of the team's other former standouts, Genar Andrinua and Pablo Orbaiz. San Mames Stadium will begin to be demolished on Thursday and the Spanish first-division club will play at a new stadium known as San Mames Barria in the '13-14 La Liga season (EFE, 6/6). Stadium DB wrote the Bilbao stadium was opened in August 1913, "which means it won’t formally live a whole century." Next season, Athletic will hold its games "at 70% finished new San Mamés," while the remaining 30% of the stadium will be built "only after the old ground is removed, as it will be built on the very same spot" (STADIUM DB, 6/5).
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