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Javier Urruticoechea

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Personal information
Full name Francisco Javier González Urruticoechea
Date of birth (1952-02-17)17 February 1952
Place of birth San Sebastián, Spain
Date of death 24 May 2001(2001-05-24) (aged 49)
Place of death Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
1967–1969 Lengokoak
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1969–1972 San Sebastián
1972–1977 Real Sociedad 66 (0)
1977–1981 Español 121 (0)
1981–1988 Barcelona 120 (0)
International career
1979 Spain U23 2 (0)
1974 Spain amateur 2 (0)
1980–1981 Spain B 5 (0)
1978–1980 Spain 5 (0)
1979–1980 Euskadi XI 2 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Francisco Javier González Urruticoechea (17 February 1952 – 24 May 2001), known as Urruti, was a Spanish footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

At FC Barcelona, a club known for goalkeepers like Franz Platko, Antoni Ramallets, Juan Velasco and Ricardo Zamora, he became a legend, playing 307 La Liga games over the course of 16 seasons and also representing in the competition Real Sociedad and Español.[1]

Urruti represented Spain in three World Cups. In 2001, he died in a road accident near Barcelona.[2][3]

Club career[edit]

Born in San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Urruti played as a junior with Lengokoak before joining Real Sociedad in 1969, spending three full years with the reserve team. Following the departure of José Ramón Esnaola, he maintained an interesting battle for first-choice status with legendary Luis Arconada[4] with a third talented goalkeeper Pedro Artola also in contention for the place.

After Arconada finally became the established starter, Urruti moved to RCD Español,[4] where he won the Don Balón award in 1981 (Spanish Footballer of the Year),[5] moving across the city after that campaign to join FC Barcelona.

In his third year, Urruti won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy while playing in all the matches safe one. He was a prominent member of the Catalonia team coached by Terry Venables that won the league in 1985 and then reached the final of the European Cup in the following year; on 25 March 1985, in a game against Real Valladolid, his penalty save against Mágico González effectively clinched the title.[6]

During the second leg of the European Cup semi-final against IFK Göteborg, Urruti successfully protested to the referee about a conceded goal after he spotted the ball had gone out of play – Barcelona were trailing 0–3 from the first leg and the decision kept them in the game. They eventually drew level, and in the subsequent penalty shootout he saved a crucial penalty and then scored one;[7] the final with FC Steaua București, however, was to end in disappointment as, although he saved two shots in the shootout (after 0–0 in regulation), his Romanian counterpart, Helmuth Duckadam, stopped all four.[8]

After Andoni Zubizarreta, another Basque, arrived from Athletic Bilbao in 1986, Urruti was pushed to the bench and only appeared in one league match in his final two seasons combined, later being the club's goalkeeper coach. On 24 May 2001, he died after his car hit the central barrier of a ring road in Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, at just 49;[9] an annual golf tournament, the Memorial Javier Urruti, was subsequently played in his honour.[10]

International career[edit]

Urruti played five times for Spain in a two-year span, and was a member of the Spanish squads for the 1978, 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups,[11] also being picked for UEFA Euro 1980. His debut came in a friendly with Norway on 29 March 1978, in Gijón; however, his struggles at the club level translated to the international front, as he was never able to replace fellow Basques Arconada and Zubizarreta.

Urruti also earned two caps for the Basque Country national team.






  1. ^ Jonathan Stevenson and Chris Bevan (22 April 2008). "When Bryan Robson tamed Barca". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. ^ Fallece el ex jugador del FC Barcelona Javier Urruticoechea, 'Urruti' (Javier Urruticoechea, 'Urruti', former FC Barcelona player, dies); El País, 24 May 2001 (in Spanish)
  3. ^ Urruti, ex portero de Barça y Espanyol, fallece en un accidente de tráfico (Urruti, ex Barça and Espanyol goalkeeper, dies in road accident); El Mundo, 25 May 2001 (in Spanish)
  4. ^ a b "Arconada, nuevo numero uno del fútbol español" [Arconada, new number one of Spanish football]. El País (in Spanish). 22 March 1980. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  5. ^ Spain – Footballer of the Year, at RSSSF
  6. ^ ""Urruti, t'estimo", 23 años después" ["Urruti, I love you", 23 years later] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 6 November 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  7. ^ "La noche mágica de Pichi Alonso" [Pichi Alonso's magical night] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 1 December 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Duckadam inspires Steaua". UEFA. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  9. ^ Urruti killed in car crash; BBC Sport, 24 May 2001
  10. ^ "Séptima edición del Memorial Urruti de golf" [Seventh edition of the Urruti golf Memorial] (in Spanish). Sport. 14 February 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Del utillero falangista al positivo de Calderé: nuestro Mundial 86 en diez episodios" [From the falangista kit man to Calderé's positive: our 86 World Cup in ten episodes] (in Spanish). El Confidencial. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2017.

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