2011–12 Real Sociedad season

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Real Sociedad
2011–12 season
President Jokin Aperribay
Manager Philippe Montanier
La Liga 12th
Copa del Rey Round of 16
Top goalscorer League: Carlos Vela (12)
All: Vela-Agirretxe (12)
Home colours
Away colours

The 2011–12 season was Real Sociedad's 66th season in La Liga. After managing to stay up in the previous season the Basque club sacked Martín Lasarte and appointed Philippe Montanier as a new coach.

This article shows player statistics and all matches (official and friendly) that the club played during the 2011–12 season.

Season summary[edit]

Real Sociedad's progression during the 2011-12 season.

The Season started with the appointment of Philippe Montanier as a coach, and promises from the local media of a new ball-playing approach. The new campaign got off to a good start as Real Sociedad won its first game, away to Sporting Gijón. This optimism wouldn’t last, as the club found itself bottom of the table by late November. Talk of Montanier’s imminent dismissal became overwhelming but two unexpected victories kept the Frenchman in the job. The first, away against Real Betis, was sealed in extra time when Iñigo Martínez shot from midfield, surprising the goalkeeper. This goal became a hit throughout Europe and was nominated as one of the goals of the season. The second victory, against Malaga, was obtained in extra-time too. It is widely accepted that without these two wins Montanier would have been sacked.

Towards the end of 2011 the Basque club stabilized in higher positions and relegation looked unlikely as Sporting Gijon, Racing Santander and Real Zaragoza looked already doomed. On the 36th round Real Sociedad mathematically avoided an unlikely relegation after defeating Racing Santander at home. The club finished in 12th position, with 47 points. Despite the improvement from the previous season and acceptable point tally, criticism of Montanier was widespread. Sections of the media and fans were disappointed in the style of play and Montanier’s alleged lack of ambition. During a home game against Real Betis, a number of fans called for Montanier's resignation while the game was in play, and the score was 1-1.

Copa del Rey[edit]

In the cup the club met Granada. A home win was enough to knock the Andalusians out, despite being beaten and thoroughly outplayed in the second leg. Similarly, Mallorca were beaten at Anoeta, but a catastrophic second leg sent Real Sociedad out the competition after being defeated 6–1.


Real Sociedad reached an agreement with Nike, who became the official suppliers of the team’s kit and training clothing. Thus Real Sociedad ended a 17-year relationship with basque kit providers Astore [1]


Squad information[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Chile GK Claudio Bravo
2 Spain DF Carlos Martínez
3 Spain DF Mikel González
4 Spain MF Gorka Elustondo
5 Spain MF Markel Bergara
7 France MF Antoine Griezmann
8 Spain FW Joseba Llorente
9 Spain FW Imanol Agirretxe
10 Spain MF Xabier Prieto
11 Spain MF Mikel Aranburu (captain)
13 Spain GK Eñaut Zubikarai
14 Netherlands MF Jeffrey Sarpong
15 Spain DF Ion Ansotegi
No. Position Player
16 Norway DF Vadim Demidov
17 France MF David Zurutuza
18 Kenya MF McDonald Mariga
19 Algeria MF Liassine Cadamuro-Bentaïba
20 Spain MF Asier Illarramendi
21 Uruguay FW Diego Ifrán
22 Spain DF Dani Estrada
23 Mexico FW Carlos Vela
24 Spain DF Alberto de la Bella
25 Spain GK Toño Ramírez
26 Spain DF Iñigo Martínez
27 Spain MF Rubén Pardo


Start formations[edit]

Starting XI

Lineup that started most of the club's competitive matches throughout the season.

MS Notes
1 GK Chile Claudio Bravo 37
2 RB Spain Carlos Martínez 19 Estrada started 16 games as RB
26 CB Spain Iñigo Martínez 26 Missed the last 8 games due to injury
3 CB Spain Mikel González 25 Demidov and Ansotegi shared the remaining games
24 LB Spain Alberto de la Bella 21 Cadamuro-Bentaïba started 11 games as LB
4 MF Spain Gorka Elustondo 16 Illarramendi played 16 games too
11 MF Spain Mikel Aranburu 26
10 AM Spain Xabi Prieto 25 Sometimes on the left
17 AM France David Zurutuza 30
7 FW France Antoine Griezmann 28 Sometimes on the right
9 FW Spain Imanol Agirretxe 27

The formation above is not the standard lineup during the season. It is unclear whether the team played 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Griezmann and Prieto often switched sides. Carlos Vela played in different attacking positions: wide left, off the striker and as a false nine. Cadamuro-Bentaïba was used as left-back instead of De la Bella as the latter was absent for a long period due to technical decisions and injuries.

The season was marked by the lack of a defined best 11, with constant changes that were not always understood by the local media and fans.

Player stats[edit]



Martín Lasarte had his contract rescinded by the club almost immediately after the end of the season, being paid €50,000 for it.[3] After some speculation Philippe Montanier was appointed as new coach, for which Valenciennes received €500,000 from Real Sociedad.[4]

Controversially Diego Rivas was not offered a new contract and abandoned the club. Similarly Raul Tamudo left the club after a successful one-year stay. Experienced centre-half Mikel Labaka signed for Rayo Vallecano on a free transfer, ending a 14-year-long relationship with the club. Sutil was let go to Real Murcia after a season spent mostly on the bench.

Young prospects Borja Viguera, Alex Albistegi and Iñigo Sarasola returned to the club at the end of their loan spells. Iosu Esnaola signed for Noja and Sarasola and Albistegi had their contracts rescinded. Albistegi signed for Logroñes later that summer.


Player New Team Fee
Spain Diego Rivas Spain Hércules CF Free, end of contract.
Spain Raúl Tamudo Spain Rayo Vallecano[5] Free, end of contract.
Spain Iñigo Sarasola Contract rescinded [6]
Spain Iosu Esnaola Spain SD Noja[7] Free[8]
Spain Francisco Sutil Spain Real Murcia Free, contract rescided[9]
Spain Alex Albistegi Spain Logroñés Free, contract rescided [10]
Spain Mikel Labaka Spain Rayo Vallecano[11] Free, contract rescinded

Loan out[edit]

Player Team
SpainBorja Viguera SpainGimnàstic de Tarragona[12]
Netherlands Jeffrey Sarpong Netherlands NAC Breda[13]

Jeffrey Sarpong was loaned to Dutch club NAC Breda in the winter transfer window.

Loan return[edit]

Player From
Spain Borja Viguera Spain Gimnàstic de Tarragona, (who rescinded Viguera's contract in January)
Spain Iñigo Sarasola Spain Real Unión
Spain Iosu Esnaola Spain Real Unión, UD Lanzarote (April onwards)
Spain Alex Albistegi Spain Eibar

Loan in[edit]

Player From
Mexico Carlos Vela England Arsenal[14][15]
Kenya McDonald Mariga Italy Internazionale[16]

Loan end[edit]

Player To
Kenya McDonald Mariga Italy Internazionale

McDonald Mariga, who had been signed on loan for a season from Inter Milan, returned to Italy during the winter window after a series of disappointing performances for Real Sociedad. Inter Milan loaned the Kenian again, this time to Parma.[17]



  Win   Draw   Loss   Postponed

King's cup[edit]

Round of 32[edit]

Round of 16[edit]

External links[edit]