The Txopo Iribar in full flight. One of the best goalkeepers in the history of Athletic. PHOTO: ABC

Who are they the best goalkeepers in the history of Athletic Bilbao? Goalkeepers have always been considered the great forgotten of football. But little is said about the loneliness that is felt under the sticks and the responsibility in games that can be decided in a simple oversight. That is why today we review this important figure of one of the historical figures of football, of the Athletic Club of Bilbao.


José Ángel Iribar

José Ángel Iribar, also known as the 'Txopo', is a legend for the Cathedral. The archer made myth defended the colors in a total of 614 occasions throughout the 18 seasons that remained on the bench of the lions. So far he is the player who has done it the most times. two cups (1969 Y 1973) and the Zamora Trophy in 1970, make it one of the great rojiblancos emblems.

Carmelo Cedrún

A ‘Txopo’ track him down Carmelo Cedrún surpassing 400 encounters with the red-and-white in 14 courses. An achievement that so far has only been achieved 18 players. With the Basque team the goalkeeper won a League (1955-56) and three cups (1954-55, 1955-56 Y 1957-58). A passion under the sticks that he transmitted to his son Andoni, who also wore the red and white shirt between 1980 Y 1983 and was the Cup and Recopa champion goalkeeper with Zaragoza in the seasons 1993-94 Y 1994-95.

Gorka Iraizoz

After Iribar and Carmelo Cedrún, Gorka Iraizoz is the third goalkeeper who has played the most matches in the history of Athletic Club, a total of 392 encounters in 10 seasons. further, He also wears the award of being the second red-and-white goalkeeper with the most games in Europe (45) and being the starting goalkeeper in the Super Cup victory against FC Barcelona in 2015.

best goalkeepers in the history of Athletic Bilbao
Iraizoz defended Athletic's goal for a long time. PHOTO: Wikipedia

Raymond Perez Lezama

But without any doubt, if there is a reference goalkeeper for the rojiblanca goal, that is Lezama. In the 16 campaigns in the San Mamés added 263 crashes and, in the years after the Civil War, he was a revolutionary. There were thousands of ways that Raimundo Pérez Lezama had to occupy his position under the sticks and it was a spectacle to see his stops. With the lions he conquered 2 Suspenders (1943, 1956), 6 Copas (1943,1944, 1950,1954, 1955 Y 1956) and a Zamora Trophy (1947).

The latter would be an award that the newspaper Brand would award him posthumously. further, as a curiosity and continuity of its revolutionary spirit, with him the look of the goalkeepers was modernized thanks to being a pioneer in the introduction of the wool turtleneck sweater. An outfit that became popular under the sticks and which was perhaps the amulet for the return of the success of goalkeepers of international stature, that until now seemed scarce in the red and white ranks.

Vicente Biurrun

In 1985, Athletic Club opened the doors to Vicente Biurrun, a goalkeeper from CA Osasuna who stood out for his agile reflexes inside and outside the goalposts. A lightness that led him to become the undisputed starter in 173 games during the four seasons he played for the red-and-white squad (1986/87-1989/90). born in brazil, but son of Basque emigrants and raised in San Sebastián, Biurrun was the 'first foreigner’ Athletic.

Andoni Zubizarreta

If the red-and-white goal had its own name, it would be Andoni Zubizarreta. A gasteiztarra who would be in charge of replacing José Ángel Iríbar, something that would do with a vengeance. He would debut with the lions at the hands of Javier Clemente on 20/09/1981 and would reach 239 meetings in the 5 seasons with which he wore the red and white shirt. stood out for everything: your safety, its placement, his aerial game and for his regularity, since it was only lost 1 of the 170 games he played for Athletic Club. A magic that led him to become the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets (39,1%).

In an interview, ‘Teeth’ assured that "if he had not been a footballer, I would have been a chemist", good luck for the fans.

best goalkeepers in the history of Athletic Bilbao
A young Zubizarreta in his beginnings at Athletic. PHOTO: Athletic Club

Gregorio Blasco

After debuting very young in the season 1927/28, Gregorio Blasco he was the goalkeeper in the first Athletic League match in its entire history. A clash that would occur in 1929 against Real Sociedad. Since then the Mexican did nothing but reap what he sowed: good football, reaching a more than enviable record with the red-and-white shirt: 4 Suspenders (1930, 1931, 1933 Y 1935), 4 consecutive cups (1930, 1931, 1932 Y 1933) Y 8 Regional Championships.

We cannot forget other goalkeepers like Juanjo Valencia he played 195 matches with Athletic during 7 seasons, Daniel Aranzubia (189 parties in 8 seasons) e Iñaki Lafuente (151 in 9). A lineage that served as a reference and continues to do so both for Athletic Club today and for many other national and international teams thanks, especially, to the continuation of the rojiblanca legend under sticks that players like Unai Simon, called to appear soon for this list.

Cristina Martinez


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