Rafael Iriondo

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Rafael Iriondo
Personal information
Full name Rafael Iriondo Aurtenetxea
Date of birth (1918-10-24)24 October 1918
Place of birth Guernica, Spain
Date of death 24 February 2016(2016-02-24) (aged 97)
Place of death Bilbao, Spain
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1939–1940 Atlético Tetuán
1940–1953 Athletic Bilbao 258 (79)
1953 Barakaldo 3 (1)
1953–1955 Real Sociedad 28 (9)
1955 Indautxu 1 (0)
Total 290 (89)
National team
1946–1947 Spain 2 (1)
Teams managed
1955–1956 Indautxu
1958–1959 Alavés
1961–1962 Barakaldo
1965–1968 Bilbao Athletic
1968–1969 Athletic Bilbao
1970 Español
1971–1972 Zaragoza
1972–1974 Real Sociedad
1974–1976 Athletic Bilbao
1976–1978 Betis
1980 Rayo Vallecano
1981–1982 Betis
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Rafael Iriondo Aurtenetxea (24 October 1918 – 24 February 2016) was a Spanish football forward and manager.

He amassed La Liga totals of 286 matches and 88 goals during 15 seasons, with Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.[1] He subsequently became a manager, working for nearly 30 years and being in charge of both clubs.

Club career[edit]

Born in Guernica, Biscay, Iriondo arrived at Basque giants Athletic Bilbao in 1940, from Atlético Tetuán. He made his La Liga debut on 29 September in a 2–2 draw at Valencia CF and, during his 13-year spell with the club, would form an historic offensive partnership with Agustín Gaínza, José Luis Panizo and Telmo Zarra, helping Athletic to the 1942–43 league and four Copa del Generalísimo trophies.[2][3]

After 328 official games for Athletic with 115 goals, Iriondo moved to another team in the region, Barakaldo CF, in 1953. After a couple of months, however, he returned to the top division and joined Real Sociedad, retiring shortly after the end of the 1954–55 season.

Iriondo started coaching immediately after retiring, with modest SD Indautxu in the second division.[4] He continued in his native Basque Country in the following years, with Deportivo Alavés and Barakaldo.[5]

In the 1968–69 campaign, Iriondo returned to Athletic Bilbao as head coach, helping the club to the 11th place in the league and the season's domestic cup. He would also manage the team for two full seasons in the mid-1970s, interspersed with stints at RCD Español, Real Zaragoza and Real Sociedad.

Iriondo's last coaching job was with Real Betis: he led the Andalusians to the 1977 Spanish Cup,[6][7] but suffered top flight relegation in the following season.[8] After 15 matches at Rayo Vallecano in 1980 (meeting the same fate) he returned to Betis for one final campaign in 1981–82, being one of three managers to help the team finish sixth in the first division; he died in Bilbao on 24 February 2016, aged 97.[9]

International career[edit]

Iriondo earned two caps for Spain in as many friendlies, his debut coming on 23 June 1946 in a 0–1 loss to the Republic of Ireland, in Madrid. This was the first national team game attended by General Francisco Franco.

Seven months later, in Lisbon, he scored against Portugal, who won 4–1.



Athletic Bilbao[10]


Athletic Bilbao



  1. ^ "Athletic Club-Real Sociedad: jugadores en los dos bandos" [Athletic Club-Real Sociedad: players on both sides]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 9 May 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Los discípulos de Pichichi" [Pichichi's disciples]. El Correo (in Spanish). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Leyendas del Athletic Club de Bilbao – Iriondo" [Athletic Club de Bilbao legends – Iriondo]. El Correo (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  4. ^ Historia (History); at SD Indautxu (in Spanish)
  5. ^ Entrenadores (Managers); at Barakaldo CF (in Spanish)
  6. ^ "2–2: Los andaluces remontaron dos ventajas vascas" [2–2: The Andalusians countered Basques' advantage twice]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 26 June 1977. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Iriondo: Siento una gran alegria y... un poco de pena" [Iriondo: I am extremely happy and... a little sorry]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 26 June 1977. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  8. ^ "1–0: El Real Betis, a Segunda" [1–0: Real Betis, to Segunda]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 8 May 1978. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Fallece Rafael Iriondo" [Rafael Iriondo dies]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 24 February 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Rafael Iriondo Aurtenetxea" (in Spanish). Mi Athletic. Retrieved 15 January 2015.

External links[edit]