Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Club, also known as Athletic Bilbao, is a football club from the Basque country in Spain, which plays in the Primera División.

Since the founding of the League Primera División in 1928, the association is continuously top notch and won the championship eight times. In the " eternal table" Athletic is in third place and FC Barcelona is the only team that had never stay is next to Real Madrid. The Spanish Cup ( Copa del Rey ) was won a total of 24 times, until 2009, this record was surpassed by Barcelona.

The nickname of the player in Spain, " Los Leones " ( the lion ) is derived from the name of the patron of the stadium " San Mames ", the Saint Mamas, from. Mama was a Christian, which the Romans had thrown to the lions to eat. However, the lion not eating Mamas and left him unharmed, which is why he was canonized later. The San Mames was built next to a church and is therefore also called the " Cathedral of Football".

Athletic Bilbao is the policy of using only players that come either from the Basque provinces Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Álava and Navarre (all Spain), Labourd, Soule and Lower Navarre ( all France ) or in the youth of a football club said from the provinces were trained. Family -like structures and an incomparable club harmony characterize Athletic Bilbao. Bilbao's players put a great loyalty to the club on the day and spend some their entire careers in the red and white jersey ( rojiblancos ).

  • 4.1 At the national level
  • 4.2 International



The football was introduced to Bilbao by two different groups of young players who both had connections to the " motherland of football " ( England): British steel and shipyard workers and Basque students returning from UK schools.

In the late 19th century, Bilbao was one of the most important ports in Spain and with its mines and shipyards one of the most important industrial regions of the country. The city was a motor of the Spanish economy and therefore attracted a large number of foreign workers. Among them were many miners from the North East of England and shipyard workers from Sunderland, Southampton and Portsmouth. This British workers brought with them the football and founded in the early 1890s, the Bilbao Football Club. Meanwhile Basque students went the opposite way, went to the UK to visit their universities. Here they came into contact with the football, which they imported upon their return. Founded in 1898 students of the school Zamacois Athletic Club, in reference to the English spelling.

1902 both clubs sent a joint team ( called Vizcaya) in the running for the inaugural round of the Copa del Rey. They returned with the trophy after the FC Barcelona was defeated in the finals. Therefore, it was decided in 1903 to unite both clubs to Athletic Club.

The date of the foundation of the association is part of lively debate among football historians. The association gives 1898 as the year of foundation, while others in 1901 or 1903 called the year the club was founded.

Successful Years ( 1903-1941 )

1903 won the newly formed Athletic Club turn the Copa del Rey and was also declared in the following year the winner after the enemy Club Español de Madrid did not compete. After another win in 1911 Bilbao won 1914-1916 the trophy three times in a row. Star of this team was the legendary striker Pichichi ( Rafael Moreno Aranzadi ), the first goal ever scored on 21 August 1913 at the San Mames and let follow a hat-trick in the final of the Copa del Rey in 1915. Today 's top scorer of the Spanish league gets the trophy, which is named after Pichichi ( Trofeo Pichichi ). 1912 then the rule has been launched, under which only the Basques must play for the team.

In 1928, when the Primera División was launched, attended by Athletic with Real Sociedad, Real Unión Club de Irun and Arenas Getxo Basque three more teams participating. As 1930 Deportivo Alaves followed were five out of ten clubs in the league from the Basque Country. 1929 took over the Englishman Fred Pentland for the second time as coach at Bilbao ( for the first time from 1921 to 1927 ) and revolutionized the team, by teaching her the short passing game. He led the team to two double victories in 1930 and 1931 and four straight wins in the Copa del Rey 1930-1933 at this time. FC Barcelona inflicted its heaviest defeat ever at 12:1. After two more championship titles in 1934 and 1936, Bilbao had four took first place in the first eight years of the league.

Atlético Bilbao ( 1941-1974 )

According to a decree of the Spanish dictator Franco, the club had to change his name in 1941 Atlético Bilbao, as foreign names were banned in the league. In the same year debuted with Telmo Zarra 's top scorer in club history. In thirteen years he scored 333 Goals in official matches. Another big player in this era was José Luis Panizo. 1943, the team once again won a double, in 1944 and 1945 respectively the Cup (now the Copa del Generalissimo ).

In the fifties the club could with the legendary forward line by Telmo Zarra, José Luis Panizo, Rafael Iriondo, Venancio and Agustín Pérez García Gaínza come up. After Ferdinand had taken with Daučík one of the best coaches in the country's Athletic, were more titles not long in coming: Double 1956 Cup in 1955 and 1958.

One of the reasons for the success of the club up in the fifties we lived in the strict prohibition to accept foreign players under contract. In Spain, three foreigners and eight Spaniards were then allowed per team. Real Madrid and Barça circumvent this rule by simply players einbürgerten (eg Ferenc Puskás, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Ladislao Kubala ), whereas Athletic remained true to its philosophy and had to relinquish its leadership role in club football.

In the sixties and seventies Madrid and Barcelona, ​​Spain dominated football, while Bilbao is usually been in mid-table. Only the Copa del Generalissimo was 1969 and 1973 even won twice.

Return to Athletic Bilbao and politicization

In December 1975 Bilbao met local rivals Real Sociedad from San Sebastián. Precautions Before kick-off Bilbao's goalkeeper legend José Ángel Iribar and sociedads captain Ignacio Kortabarria the Ikurriña ( flag of the Basque Country ) and put them solemnly in the Anstoßpunkt. This was the first public display of the flag banned for 40 years after Franco's death.

Another milestone in their history was the participation in the UEFA Cup final in 1977. Along the way the team had off with FC Barcelona and AC Milan two top European clubs. However, it eventually lost the final after a 2-2 draw after return game on away goals against Juventus.

The era Clemente

1981 Javier Clemente new head coach, who at the veterans Dani and Andoni Goikoetxea young players like Santiago Urkiaga, Miguel De Andres, Ismael Urtubi, Estanislao Argote and Andoni Zubizarreta was einbaute. This was an excellent mix, because finally you could Bilbao count back to the top teams. In 1983, the team champion in 1984 was followed by the even double. Clemente was playing very defensively, for which he was severely criticized, but this was effective. In addition, the Basques were known for their aggressive and tough game, which was personified especially by the defense Goikoetxea. After Clemente's farewell also many top players left the club; then was no other significant titles longer be won, though well-known and successful coaches in Bilbao worked, including José Ángel Iribar, Howard Kendall, Jupp Heynckes and Javier Irureta.

The era Fernández

In vain, the association tried to build on the successes of the early eighties, which again was not until nearly under Luis Fernández. He led the team in 1998 for the runner-up, and thus for the first time in the Champions League. Fernández benefited from a relaxed personnel policies, which allowed him to commit players who were trained in youth teams on Basque territory ( Patxi Ferreira, Biurrun ). First time, a Basque from the French part of the region was used with Bixente Lizarazu. As always supplied the youth department with Julen Guerrero an excellent single player.

Recent developments

Then it gradually became quiet around the club from the Basque Country, which disappeared in the middle of the league. Before the season 2005/ 06 Athletic had the loss of the two performers Asier del Horno and Santiago Ezquerro accept who changed to FC Chelsea and FC Barcelona. Athletic managed to escape from relegation until the 37th game day. Prior to the 2006/07 season ended and veteran midfielder legend Julen Guerrero his active career and joined the coaching staff.

As coach Javier Clemente did not agree with the purchased players, they separated and placed Félix sarriugarte as a successor, who was replaced after half the season by José Manuel Esnal ( Mane ), since he could not achieve the necessary results. The club finally managed only on the final day with a 2-0 home win against UD Levante to secure the league. The return of defender Asier del Horno before the 2007/2008 season on loan from FC Valencia did not bring the desired result, so that the purchase option was not taken. Nevertheless, this season was ultimately more successful than the previous one, the qualification for the Intertoto Cup was missed on the last match day. This season the final breakthrough of the long time traded as a large storm Fernando Llorente talent who finally brought it to eleven goals this season and was a key figure in Athletics offensive game began. In the fall of 2008, he was, as well as defender Andoni Iraola, first nominated for the Spanish national football team.

On 25 June 2010 started the construction of the San Mames Barria, which is expected in 2014 to be the new stadium for Athletic Bilbao. The stadium will hold 55,500 spectators.

On 9 May 2012, the Basques managed to stand again for the first time since 1977 in a European Cup final. In the previous rounds, we sat down against FC Red Bull Salzburg and Metalist Kharkiv (both group stage ) and Lokomotiv Moscow ( Round of ) and well-known opponents such as Paris SG ( group stage ), Manchester United ( second round ), Schalke 04 ( quarterfinals ) and Sporting Lisbon ( semifinal ) by where you could in the first leg against Schalke 04 transform a temporary 1:2 residue within the last twenty minutes in a 4:2 and 1:2 in the semifinal first leg also could not change the finals ( return match was with won 3:1). However, the team had to give the league rival Atletico Madrid defeated with 0:3 under the Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa in the all-Spanish final of the UEFA Europa League.


Similarly controversial as the exact date of foundation of the association is the origin of the club's colors. The first jerseys were blue and white, but changed in 1910 in red and white stripes. Three different theories are given for this change:

  • The AFC Sunderland and Southampton FC played in identical shirts and were simply copied from the English footballers in Bilbao.
  • Athletic sent a member to the UK to buy blue and white jerseys. However, this could not muster and therefore returned with red and white striped back from Southampton.
  • The most likely theory is that red and white jerseys were taken, as these could be produced very cheaply made ​​mattress covers.

Athletic was one of the last teams in European club football, who played on the jersey sponsor. Only in 2004 /05 came in the Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup jerseys with green " Euskadi " print used. Sponsor was the Basque Government ( red, white and green are the national colors ).

In 2008, the club's management finally returned from this policy from, and Petronor (a subsidiary of the oil company Repsol ) pays over two million euro sponsorship money per annum.

Find out more

Iker Muniain is recently by his goal to make it 2-0 on 5 August 2009 in the Europa League qualifier against Young Boys Bern at 16 years and 229 days scorer in the history of Athletic Bilbao.


At the national level

  • Spanish Champion ( 8): 1930, 1931, 1934, 1936, 1943, 1956, 1983, 1984
  • Spanish Cup Winners (23 ): 1902 ( as Vizcaya, not recognized ), 1903, 1904, 1910, 1911, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1921, 1923, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1969, 1973, 1984
  • Supercopa de España ( 1): 1984
  • Campeonato Norte ( 3): 1913-14, 1914-15, 1915-16
  • Campeonato de Vizcaya (14 ): 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1940
  • Copa Vasca ( 1): 1935


  • Europe Champions Cup Quarter-final (1956 /57)
  • Second round (1983 /84)
  • Final (1976 /77)
  • Final (2011 /12)

Current squad 2013/14

Well-known former players

  • Spain José Ramón Alexanko
  • Spain Rafael Alkorta
  • Spain Bata
  • Spain Carmelo Cedrún
  • Spain Dani
  • Asier del Horno Spain
  • Spain Joseba Etxeberria
  • Spain Santiago Ezquerro
  • Spain Agustín Gaínza
  • Spain Jesús Garay

Top 10 by appearances and goals

(As of July 1, 2012, stated, all Official matches )

Coach History


Pictures of Athletic Bilbao