Aitor Karanka

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Aitor Karanka
Personal information
Full name Aitor Karanka de la Hoz
Date of birth (1973-09-18) 18 September 1973 (age 41)
Place of birth Vitoria, Spain
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
Playing position Defender
Club information
Current team
Middlesbrough (head coach)
Youth career
1991–1992 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1994 Bilbao Athletic 53 (2)
1993–1997 Athletic Bilbao 118 (2)
1997–2002 Real Madrid 93 (0)
2002–2006 Athletic Bilbao 64 (2)
2006 Colorado Rapids 28 (0)
Total 356 (6)
National team
1993–1996 Spain U21 14 (0)
1996 Spain U23 4 (0)
1995 Spain 1 (0)
1994–2004 Basque Country 6 (0)
Teams managed
2008–2010 Spain U16
2010–2013 Real Madrid (assistant manager)
2013– Middlesbrough
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Karanka and the second or maternal family name is De la Hoz.

Aitor Karanka de la Hoz (born 18 September 1973) is a Spanish retired footballer who played mainly as a central defender (on occasion, he occupied the left back position), and the current manager of Middlesbrough.

Except for a brief spell in the United States, at the age of 32, he played solely in Spain for Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, appearing in 275 La Liga games over the course of 13 seasons and winning a total of seven major titles with the latter.

In the late 2000s Karanka started a managerial career, notably working as an assistant at Real Madrid.[1][2][3]

Playing career[edit]


Born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Karanka played as a youth with hometown's Deportivo Alavés and finished his formation with Basque neighbours Athletic Bilbao. He made his senior debuts with the reserves of the latter in 1992, competing with the team in Segunda División.

Karanka was promoted to the main squad by Jupp Heynckes in 1993, making his La Liga debut on 7 November in a 1–1 away draw against Celta de Vigo (90 minutes played)[4] and going on to feature in exactly 100 league matches in his three full seasons, before joining the German coach at Real Madrid in 1997.[5] With the capital team he was used mostly as a backup, but appeared in 33 UEFA Champions League games for the club, including the 1999–2000 final against Valencia CF (3–0 win);[6] he also missed the vast majority of the 1998–99 campaign due to a heart condition.[7]

For 2002–03 Karanka returned to Athletic Bilbao,[8] helping the Lions qualify for the UEFA Cup in his second year after a fifth place in the league. He switched to Major League Soccer and the Colorado Rapids in 2006.[9]


Karanka only played once for Spain at senior level, on 26 April 1995 against Armenia for the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifiers, in Yerevan (2–0 win).[10] He made 14 appearances for the under-21s, and was a member of the team that finished runners-up at the 1996 European Championship in a final lost to Italy.[11]

Karanka also represented the nation in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, playing in four matches in an eventual quarterfinal exit.[12]

Managerial career[edit]

In June 2010 Karanka was appointed assistant manager at former side Real Madrid, by newly appointed manager José Mourinho.[13] Three years later he left the club, following the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti who brought his own coaching staff.[14]

On 13 November 2013 Karanka was appointed manager of Football League Championship side Middlesbrough, replacing Tony Mowbray.[15] His first game in charge ended in a 1–2 away defeat against Leeds United, ten days later.[16]



Real Madrid


Spain U21

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 13 December 2014
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Middlesbrough 13 November 2013 Present 56 26 16 14 80 46 +34 46.43
Total 56 26 16 14 80 46 +34 46.43


Karanka's younger brother, David, is also a footballer. A striker, he also appeared for Bilbao's first team but with much less impact, going on to spend the vast majority of his professional career in the second level or the lower leagues.[17][18]


  1. ^ Butragueño: "Karanka representa los valores de la casa" (Butragueño: "Karanka is what Real Madrid stands for"); Marca, 7 June 2010 (Spanish)
  2. ^ Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world, says Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, after Barcelona win; The Daily Telegraph, 22 April 2012
  3. ^ Karanka demanding focus from Real; ESPN FC, 23 November 2012
  4. ^ Heynckes lleva a cabo la revolución que anunció (Heynckes delivers promised revolution); El Mundo Deportivo, 7 November 1993 (Spanish)
  5. ^ Llegó el central (Stopper has arrived); El Mundo Deportivo, 14 August 1997 (Spanish)
  6. ^ Aitor Karanka de la Hoz – Matches in European Cups; at RSSSF
  7. ^ Karanka y su corazón dicen hasta pronto (Karanka and his heart say see you later); El Mundo, 4 March 1998 (Spanish)
  8. ^ El mejor refuerzo (The best signing); El Mundo Deportivo, 29 May 2002 (Spanish)
  9. ^ Real Madrid got real test from Union, says Kaká; Philadelphia Union, 24 July 2011
  10. ^ Amavisca se estrena (Amavisca gets his first); El Mundo Deportivo, 27 April 1995 (Spanish)
  11. ^ Italia ya ganó un Europeo a España en el 1996 (Italy has already won European Championships against Spain in 1996); Orgullo Bianconero, 18 June 2013 (Spanish)
  12. ^ Aitor KarankaFIFA competition record
  13. ^ Karanka será el segundo entrenador que pidió Mourinho (Karanka will be the assistant coach requested by Mourinho); Diario AS, 6 June 2010 (Spanish)
  14. ^ Aitor Karanka and Real Madrid part ways; Real Madrid News, 16 July 2013
  15. ^ Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough name ex-Real Madrid man as boss; BBC Sport, 13 November 2013
  16. ^ Leeds United 2–1 Middlesbrough; BBC Sport, 23 November 2013
  17. ^ David Karanka desvela que Aitor puede volver a Bilbao (David Karanka reveals Aitor may return to Bilbao); Diario AS, 20 May 2002 (Spanish)
  18. ^ 33 años no son nada (33 years is nothing); La Verdad, 4 October 2011 (Spanish)

External links[edit]