José Ángel Iribar

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José Ángel Iribar
Iribar in 1978
Personal information
Full name José Ángel Iribar Cortajarena
Date of birth (1943-03-01) 1 March 1943 (age 76)
Place of birth Zarautz, Spain
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1961–1962 Baskonia
1962–1980 Athletic Bilbao 466 (0)
National team
1964–1976 Spain 49 (0)
1979 Basque Country 1 (0)
Teams managed
1983–1986 Bilbao Athletic
1986–1987 Athletic Bilbao
1987 Bilbao Athletic
1988 Basque Country
1993–2010 Basque Country

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

José Ángel Iribar Cortajarena, nicknamed El Chopo ("the poplar") (born 1 March 1943), is a Spanish retired football goalkeeper and manager.

Having played almost exclusively for Athletic Bilbao he appeared in more than 600 official games for the club over the course of 18 La Liga seasons, winning two major titles.

Iribar represented the Spanish national team in the 1964 Nations' Cup and the 1966 World Cup, winning the former tournament.

Club career

Iribar was born in Zarautz, Gipuzkoa. After only three La Liga games in his first professional season at Athletic de Bilbao, he proceeded to become the Basque's undisputed starter for the following 16 seasons; his senior starts were made at lowly CD Baskonia in 1961, when this team was still not the feeder club: Baskonia eliminated Atlético Madrid in the Copa del Generalísimo, and the keeper's stellar performance prompted his signing for a then-record 1 million pesetas.

At Athletic, Iribar profitted from injury to legendary Carmelo Cedrún in October 1963 and never looked back, going on to conquer two Copa del Rey trophies and finish second in the 1976–77 UEFA Cup, to Juventus FC. He retired in 1980 at 37, having played in 614 matches in all competitions, as another club great in the position, Andoni Zubizarreta, would arrive at the club in the summer; during the 1970–71 campaign he kept a clean sheet at ten successive home games, which translated into a record of 1,018 minutes.

Subsequently Iribar joined Athletic's coaching staff, taking charge of the goalkeepers. In 1983–84 he coached Bilbao Athletic, the club's reserves, leading it to second place in the second division, a best-ever, although the club was not eligible for promotion.

Iribar also managed the first team in the 1986–87 season – for the only time, the league had a second stage divided in three groups, and Athletic won the relegation one (ranking 13th overall). Since 1988 and for over two decades, he was in charge of the Basque Country national football team.

International career

Iribar made his debut for Spain on 11 March 1964, in the first leg of the 1964 European Nations' Cup's last qualifying stage, a 5–1 home win against Republic of Ireland (7–1 aggregate). He was the starter for the final stages, and the nation emerged victorious on home soil.

Iribar also represented Spain at the 1966 FIFA World Cup, playing all three group stage matches. He retained his position for a further ten years, his last game coming on 24 April 1976 in a 1–1 against West Germany for the unsuccessful UEFA Euro 1976 qualifying, and gained a total of 49 caps.[1]

Political views

On 5 December 1976, before a game against Real Sociedad, Iribar and the opposing captain, Inaxio Kortabarria, carried out the Ikurriña, the Basque flag, and placed it ceremonially on the centre-circle.[2] This was the first public display of the flag since the death of Francisco Franco, but it was still illegal.

He subsequently became involved in Basque local politics, and was a founding member of the independentist coalition Herri Batasuna.[3]



Athletic Bilbao




External links