Illarramendi in 2016
|Full name||Asier Illarramendi Andonegi|
|Date of birth||8 March 1990|
|Place of birth||Mutriku, Spain|
|Height||1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|2008–2011||Real Sociedad B||93||(7)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 March 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 30 December 2016
He developed at Real Sociedad, appearing in 56 competitive games with the first team and helping it qualify for the Champions League in 2013. He then transferred to Real Madrid for €32.2 million, the most they had ever paid for a Spanish player, returning to his first team for half of that fee two years later.
A product of local Real Sociedad's youth system, Illarramendi was born in Mutriku, Gipuzkoa, and he spent the vast majority of his first four senior seasons with the B-team, contributing with 27 games and two goals in 2009–10 as the Basques returned to Segunda División B after one year out. On 19 June 2010, in the last day of the Segunda División campaign, as the first team had already sealed its promotion to La Liga as champions, he made his first official appearance, in a 1–4 away loss against Elche CF.
On 23 January 2011, Illarramendi made his top division debut, in a 1–2 loss at Villarreal CF. The following month, he first appeared as a starter playing the full 90 minutes in another away defeat (1–4 against RCD Espanyol); the bulk of the season was spent, however, with the reserves in level three.
Illarramendi started in all of his 32 league appearances in 2012–13, as Real Sociedad finished fourth and qualified to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in ten years. At the LFP Awards, he was named Breakthrough Player and Best Midfielder.
On 12 July 2013, Illarramendi signed a six-year contract with Real Madrid for a fee of €32.2 million, the highest amount paid by the club for a Spanish player. He made his official debut on 14 September by starting in a 2–2 away draw against Villarreal, and scored his first goal on 18 December in a 2–0 home win over CD Olímpic de Xàtiva for the season's Copa del Rey (also the aggregate score).
Illarramendi netted his first league goal for the Merengues on 22 February 2014, after his long-range effort against Elche was deflected and the hosts won it 3–0. His second came on 5 April, as he scored the first in an eventual 4–0 success at former team Real Sociedad in the 44th minute; he was a regular in the domestic cup campaign, coming on as a late substitute for Ángel Di María in the 2–1 final defeat of FC Barcelona, adding 11 appearances – five starts – in the team's Champions League run but remaining on the bench as they clinched the trophy against Atlético Madrid in the final at the Estádio da Luz.
Illarramendi began his second year with a brief substitute appearance in the 2014 UEFA Super Cup triumph against compatriots Sevilla FC at the Cardiff City Stadium, and was also part of Real Madrid's squad which won the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, playing the entirety of the 4–0 semi-final over against Cruz Azul.
Return to Real Sociedad
On 26 August 2015, Illarramendi returned to Real Sociedad, signing a six-year deal. He made his league debut in his second spell three days later, starting and being booked in a 0–0 home draw against Sporting de Gijón. On 25 October he recorded his first goal for the club, in a 4–0 win at Levante UD.
In the 2016–17 campaign, Illarramendi had the second-highest number of interceptions across Europe's five major leagues behind only Chelsea's N'Golo Kante. However, he was also noted for his poor disciplinary record, having racked up ten yellow cards by March 2017 including one in each of his four previous games.
Illarramendi helped Spain reach the final of the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, featuring in all games but one. He missed one of the penalties in the final shootout, which allowed Nigeria to lift the trophy.
Illarramendi earned 16 caps for the under-21s in two years. He represented them at the 2013 UEFA European Championship in Israel, being first-choice as the nation won the competition and being selected in the team of the tournament.
Manager Julen Lopetegui first called up Illarramendi for the senior side in March 2017, ahead of a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Israel and a friendly with France. Additionally, he played for the Basque XI from 2013 onwards, scoring to open a 3–1 win over FIFA member Tunisia at the San Mamés Stadium on 30 December 2016.
- Real Madrid
- "Jorge Molina marca los cuatro goles y acaba 'pichichi' de la división de plata" [Jorge Molina scores all four goals to end silver division 'pichichi'] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- «Ojo a Illarra y a Albistegi» («Keep your eye on Illarra and Albistegi»); El Diario Vasco, 20 June 2010 (in Spanish)
- Rossi shines in Yellow Submarine victory; ESPN Soccernet, 23 January 2011
- Espanyol rally to beat Real; ESPN Soccernet, 26 February 2011
- "La Real Sociedad tampoco falla ante el Sevilla F.C." [Real Sociedad does not fail against Sevilla F.C. as well] (in Spanish). Viva Fútbol. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Messi, mejor delantero y mejor jugador; Cristiano, jugador más valioso" [Messi, best forward and best player; Cristiano, most valuable player] (in Spanish). La Liga. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Real Madrid reveal €32.19 million Illarra fee". Goal.com. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- "Producto nacional a precio 'galáctico'" [National product at 'galáctico' prices] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 13 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- "Bale's debut goal not enough". ESPN FC. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "El Madrid cumple con su tarea" [Madrid does its job] (in Spanish). Marca. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Pleno sin Cristiano" [Three for three without Cristiano] (in Spanish). Marca. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "El Madrid sigue al rebote" [Madrid still on the rebound] (in Spanish). Marca. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- White, Jim (17 April 2014). "Real Madrid 2 Barcelona 1, Copa del Rey final: match report as Gareth Bale scores wonder winner". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- Phillips, Rob (12 August 2014). "Super Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice in Real Madrid win". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Cruz Azul 0–4 Real Madrid". BBC Sport. 16 December 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "La Real ficha a Illarra" [Real signs Illarra] (in Spanish). Real Sociedad. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Official announcement: Illarramendi". Real Madrid. 26 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Ni con Illarramendi" [Not even with Illarramendi] (in Spanish). Cadena SER. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- "Levante 0–4 Real Sociedad: David Moyes' morale boost". Sport. 25 October 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "How Chelsea's N'Golo Kante compares to Europe's best midfielders". Sky Sports. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "La fiebre amarilla de Asier Illarramendi" [Asier Illarramendi's yellow fever] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 13 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Spain-Nigeria 0:0 a.e.t. 0:3 PSO". FIFA.com. 9 September 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Thiago leads all-star squad dominated by Spain". UEFA.com. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "Iker Casillas out of Spain squad, Deulofeu and Illarramendi in". Diario AS. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "La Euskal Selekzioa derrota a Túnez y se toma la revancha de 2011" [The Basque team defeats Tunisia and avenges 2011] (in Spanish). EITB. 30 December 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Illarramendi". Soccerway. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Asier Illarramendi at ESPN FC
- "Illarra – Asier Illarramendi Andonegi". Real Madrid. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
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