Raimundo Pérez Lezama
|Full name||Raimundo Pérez Lezama|
|Date of birth||29 November 1922|
|Place of birth||Barakaldo, Spain|
|Date of death||24 July 2007(aged 84)|
|Place of death||Bilbao, Spain|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
After beginning his professional career in England, he returned to his country, going on to later represent, mainly, Athletic Bilbao.
Refugee in England
Lezama was born in Barakaldo, Biscay but moved to England as a refugee at the age of 14. He entered at the port of Southampton on board the Habana on 23 May 1937. Lezama and his brother, Luis, were among 3,889 Basque children fleeing the Spanish Civil War.
While in Southampton, he played for his school, Nazareth House (less than half a mile from The Dell), where he was spotted by Southampton and signed for the club as a trainee, eventually progressing to the "B" team before making his first-team debut on 1 June 1940, in a 0–5 away defeat against Arsenal. His next game was at Craven Cottage, when the "Saints" fielded five Arsenal players (Ernie Collett, Leslie Compton, Eddie Hapgood, Leslie Jones and Bernard Joy) in a 2–1 victory over Fulham. Despite the plethora of stars, both Saints goals were scored by local boy, Eric Webber.
On returning to Spain in 1940, Lezama joined Arenas Club de Getxo in Segunda División. In 1941 he signed for Athletic Bilbao and made his La Liga debut on 27 September 1942, in a 5–0 home win over Real Betis. The 1942–43 season saw the side, with a team that also included Telmo Zarra, José Luis Panizo and Agustín Gaínza, win a double (league and Copa del Rey); he helped Athletic retain the cup in both 1944 and 1945, winning it again in 1950.
While at Bilbao, Lezama also won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy as best goalkeeper during 1946–47, adding his only cap for Spain on 26 January 1947, when he was a second-half substitute for José Bañón in a 1–4 away defeat against Portugal.
Throughout the rest of his career at Athletic, Lezama was only a squad player, making only 12 league appearances in his last five seasons combined. After playing 197 league games (261 in all competitions), he left the club in 1957.
The following season, Lezama joined SD Indautxu in the second level, where his teammates included emerging youngsters Jesús María Pereda and Miguel Jones. He played two further seasons in the category with Sestao Sport Club, before rejoining first team in Spain Arenas de Getxo, in 1960.
Lezama died of heart failure in Bilbao, at the age of 84. It is sometimes thought that Athletic's youth system's facilities were named after him, but in fact these are named for their location, the village of Lezama near Bilbao.
- Zamora Trophy: 1946–47
- Raimundo Pérez Lezama, futbolista del Athletic (Raimundo Pérez Lezama, Athletic footballer); El País, 25 July 2007 (Spanish)
- Chalk, Gary; Holley, Duncan (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. p. 103. ISBN 0-907969-22-4.
- Holley, Duncan; Chalk, Gary (1992). The Alphabet of the Saints. ACL & Polar Publishing. p. 391. ISBN 0-9514862-3-3.
- Lezama, el gran portero del Athletic (Lezama, Athletic's great goalkeeper); Periodista Digital, 24 July 2007 (Spanish)
- Athletic Club 5 – Betis 0; Athletic's official website
- "Portugal 4 – Spain 1". European Football. 26 January 1947. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Fallece Lezama, el legendario ex-portero del Athletic (Lezama, former Athletic legendary goalkeeper, dies); El País, 24 July 2007 (Spanish)
- Lezama; Mi Athletic (Spanish)
- Stats at Liga de Fútbol Profesional (Spanish)[dead link]
- BDFutbol profile
- Athletic Bilbao profile
- National team data (Spanish)[dead link]
- Raimundo Lezama at National-Football-Teams.com
- Spain stats at Eu-Football