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Real Sociedad aim to write Inigo Martinez out of history with shirt exchange

Inigo Martinez once pledged that he would never leave Real Sociedad for Athletic Bilbao.

Real Sociedad have moved on following the departure of their leading player and captain, Inigo Martinez, to bitter Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao this week and are asking their fans to do the same.

Athletic paid Martinez's €32 million release clause, a club record, and half of what they received from Aymeric Laporte's departure to Manchester City this week as well as offering the player double the wages earned at La Real.

La Real then spent €6m on Martinez's replacement, Roma defender and Mexico captain Hector Moreno.

"We have managed to resolve the situation in a brief time and we are very satisfied," La Real sporting director Loren said on Martinez's replacement.

The La Liga club has announced in a statement headlined "He is history" that from Friday afternoon, that they were offering all club supporters the chance to exchange for free the official Inigo Martinez jersey in their official stores, for another team shirt of this season with the name they wanted.

La Real had not expected Martinez to leave in the winter transfer window, and to join Athletic was considered high treason.

A youth product of La Real, Martinez scored 17 goals in 239 appearances for the San Sebastian-based club.

The Spain international, linked with Barcelona last summer, was a reported target of Athletic in the past and famously said back in 2014 that he "would never join" Athletic.

La Real are now eager to erase Martinez's name, a move that the fans have welcomed.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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