Best Athletic Bilbao Players of All Time: A Comprehensive List

Soccer Coach Theory Team

Athletic Bilbao is a Spanish football club based in Bilbao, Basque Country. The club was founded in 1898 and has since established itself as one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history. Athletic Bilbao has won numerous domestic and international titles, and has produced some of the best football players in the world. In this article, we will take a look at the best Athletic Bilbao players of all time.

The club has a rich history and has seen many legendary figures grace its ranks. From the likes of Telmo Zarra, who is the club’s all-time leading scorer, to modern icons such as Aritz Aduriz, the club has always had a tradition of producing top-class players. Athletic Bilbao has also been known for producing some of the best midfield maestros, such as Andoni Goikoetxea and Joseba Etxeberria, who have played a pivotal role in the club’s success over the years. In addition, the club has also had some defensive pillars, such as Andoni Iraola and Aymeric Laporte, who have been instrumental in the club’s success.

Legendary Figures

Athletic Bilbao has a rich history of producing some of the greatest footballers of all time. These players have not only made a name for themselves but have also helped the club achieve unprecedented success. Here are some of the legendary figures who have left an indelible mark on the club’s history.

Telmo Zarra

Telmo Zarra is one of the most celebrated players in the history of Athletic Bilbao. He is the club’s all-time leading scorer and has scored a staggering 251 goals in 278 appearances. Zarra was known for his incredible aerial ability and was a prolific scorer of headers. He won six Pichichi trophies during his career, which is a record that still stands today. Zarra was also a key member of the Spanish national team and scored the winning goal for Spain in the 1950 World Cup quarterfinals against England.

José Ángel Iribar

José Ángel Iribar, also known as “El Chopo,” is another legendary figure at Athletic Bilbao. He spent his entire career at the club, making over 600 appearances in all competitions. Iribar was an outstanding goalkeeper and was known for his agility, reflexes, and shot-stopping ability. He helped Athletic Bilbao win two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Iribar was also a regular member of the Spanish national team and represented his country in two World Cups.

Dani Ruiz-Bazán

Dani Ruiz-Bazán is one of the most versatile players to have ever played for Athletic Bilbao. He played in several positions during his career, including left-back, central defender, and defensive midfielder. Ruiz-Bazán was a key member of the Athletic Bilbao team that won the La Liga title in 1983-84. He was also a regular member of the Spanish national team and represented his country in two World Cups. Ruiz-Bazán was known for his tenacity, work rate, and excellent positional sense, which made him a valuable asset to any team he played for.

These legendary figures have not only made Athletic Bilbao proud but have also left a lasting legacy for future generations of footballers to follow. Their contribution to the club’s history is immeasurable, and they will always be remembered as some of the greatest players to have ever graced the football field.

Modern Icons

Athletic Bilbao has a rich history of producing talented players, and the modern era is no exception. Here are some of the most iconic players who have graced the pitch in recent years.

Aritz Aduriz

Aritz Aduriz is a true legend of Athletic Bilbao. The striker is the club’s all-time top scorer in European competitions and has scored over 170 goals in all competitions for the club. Aduriz’s most memorable moment came in the 2015-16 season when he scored a stunning scissor-kick goal to knock Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey. Despite being in his late 30s, Aduriz continued to score important goals for the team until his retirement in 2020.

Iñaki Williams

Iñaki Williams is one of the most exciting young talents in Spanish football. The forward made his Athletic Bilbao debut in 2014 and has since become a key player for the team. Williams is known for his blistering pace and his ability to score spectacular goals. In 2016, he became the first black player to score for Athletic Bilbao in the club’s history. Williams has also represented the Spanish national team and is considered one of the most promising young players in the country.

Iker Muniain

Iker Muniain is a product of Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy and has been a regular in the first team since 2009. The attacking midfielder is known for his dribbling skills and his ability to create chances for his teammates. Muniain has been a key player for Athletic Bilbao in recent years, helping the team to reach the Copa del Rey final in 2015 and 2020. He has also represented the Spanish national team and is considered one of the most talented young players in the country.

These players have become modern icons of Athletic Bilbao, and their contributions to the team will be remembered for years to come.

Midfield Maestros

Athletic Bilbao has produced some of the most talented midfielders in football history. From José María Orue to Julen Guerrero, the club has had players who have dominated the midfield and led their team to victory.

José María Orue

José María Orue was one of the best midfielders of his time. He played for Athletic Bilbao from 1927 to 1940 and was known for his exceptional ball control and passing ability. Orue was a key player in the team that won the Spanish Cup in 1930 and 1931. He was also part of the team that won the La Liga title in 1930.

Orue was a versatile player who could play in different positions. He was equally comfortable playing as a defensive midfielder or an attacking midfielder. His vision and creativity on the field made him a valuable asset to the team.

Julen Guerrero

Julen Guerrero is one of the most iconic players in the history of Athletic Bilbao. He played for the club from 1992 to 2006 and was known for his technical skills and goal-scoring ability. Guerrero was a product of Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy and made his debut for the first team at the age of 19.

Guerrero was a midfielder who could play in different positions. He was equally comfortable playing as a central midfielder or a winger. His pace, dribbling skills, and ability to score goals made him a fan favorite. Guerrero was part of the team that won the Copa del Rey in 1998 and 2000.

Overall, Athletic Bilbao has had some of the best midfielders in football history. José María Orue and Julen Guerrero are just two of the many players who have left their mark on the club. Their skill, dedication, and passion for the game have made them legends in the eyes of Athletic Bilbao fans.

Defensive Pillars

Athletic Bilbao is known for producing some of the best defenders in the world. Over the years, the club has had several players who have been instrumental in building a solid defense. In this section, we will take a look at two of the best defensive pillars in Athletic Bilbao’s history.

Andoni Goikoetxea

Andoni Goikoetxea is one of the most iconic defenders to have played for Athletic Bilbao. He was known for his physicality and tough tackling, which earned him the nickname “The Butcher of Bilbao.” Goikoetxea played for Athletic Bilbao for 12 seasons, from 1978 to 1990, and won several titles with the club.

Goikoetxea was a versatile defender who could play as a central defender or a full-back. He was known for his excellent positioning and his ability to read the game. Goikoetxea was also a threat in the opposition box, scoring several goals throughout his career.

Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte is one of the most talented defenders to have played for Athletic Bilbao in recent years. He joined the club’s youth academy in 2010 and made his first-team debut in 2012. Laporte quickly established himself as a key player in Athletic Bilbao’s defense and helped the club reach the Europa League final in 2015.

Laporte is a modern defender who is comfortable on the ball and has excellent passing skills. He is also a strong and physical defender who is not afraid to make a tackle. Laporte’s performances for Athletic Bilbao caught the attention of several top European clubs, and he eventually signed for Manchester City in 2018.

In conclusion, Andoni Goikoetxea and Aymeric Laporte are two of the best defensive pillars in Athletic Bilbao’s history. These two players were instrumental in building a solid defense for the club and helped Athletic Bilbao achieve success on both the domestic and European stage.

Influential Managers

Athletic Bilbao has had many managers over the years, but some have stood out more than others. Here are two of the most influential managers in the club’s history:

Javier Clemente

Javier Clemente is one of the most successful managers in Athletic Bilbao’s history. He managed the team from 1981 to 1986 and from 1990 to 1996. During his first stint as manager, he won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and one Supercopa de España. In his second stint, he won one more Copa del Rey and one more Supercopa de España.

Clemente was known for his tough and disciplined approach to managing. He demanded a lot from his players and was not afraid to make tough decisions. He was also known for his use of the 4-4-2 formation, which became a hallmark of his teams.

Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto Valverde managed Athletic Bilbao from 2013 to 2017 and again from 2021 to 2022. During his first stint as manager, he led the team to the UEFA Europa League final and the Copa del Rey final. In his second stint, he helped the team avoid relegation.

Valverde was known for his tactical flexibility and his ability to get the best out of his players. He was also known for his calm and composed demeanor on the sidelines, which helped to keep his players focused and motivated.

Both Clemente and Valverde left a lasting impact on Athletic Bilbao and helped to shape the club’s identity and culture. Their influence can still be felt today, and they will always be remembered as two of the greatest managers in the club’s history.

Historic Triumphs

Athletic Bilbao is one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history. The club has won numerous titles and accolades over the years, cementing its place as one of the top teams in the country. In this section, we will take a look at some of the most historic triumphs in the club’s history.

La Liga Titles

Athletic Bilbao has won a total of eight La Liga titles, the last of which came in the 1983-84 season. The club’s first league title came in the 1929-30 season, and it went on to win the championship in 1930-31, 1933-34, 1935-36, 1942-43, 1955-56, and 1982-83. The team’s success in the early years of the league was largely due to the contributions of legendary players like Jose Iraragorri, Bata, and Telmo Zarra.

Copa del Rey Victories

Athletic Bilbao has won the Copa del Rey a record 23 times, more than any other club in Spain except for Barcelona. The team has a long and storied history in the competition, having won its first title in 1903. Some of the club’s most memorable Copa del Rey triumphs include the 1930 final against Real Madrid, which Athletic won 3-2, and the 1984 final against Barcelona, which the team won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Endika Guarrotxena.

Over the years, Athletic Bilbao has produced some of the greatest players in Spanish football history, and the team’s success in both La Liga and the Copa del Rey is a testament to the quality of those players. With a rich history and a passionate fanbase, Athletic Bilbao is sure to remain one of the most iconic clubs in Spanish football for years to come.

International Success

Athletic Bilbao has a rich history of producing top-class players who have gone on to represent their respective national teams on the international stage. In this section, we take a look at some of the best Athletic Bilbao players who have enjoyed international success.

World Cup Winners

Athletic Bilbao has had several players who have won the FIFA World Cup with their respective national teams. The most notable of these players is Andoni Zubizarreta, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010. Zubizarreta was a key member of the Spanish team that won the tournament, playing in all seven matches and keeping five clean sheets.

Another Athletic Bilbao player who has won the World Cup is Rafael Alkorta. Alkorta was part of the Spanish team that won the tournament in 1998. He played in four matches during the tournament, helping his team to reach the quarter-finals.

European Championship Contributors

Athletic Bilbao has also had several players who have contributed to their national teams’ success in the UEFA European Championship. The most notable of these players is Joseba Etxeberria, who was part of the Spanish team that won the tournament in 2008. Etxeberria played in two matches during the tournament, including the final against Germany.

Another Athletic Bilbao player who has contributed to their national team’s success in the European Championship is Ander Herrera. Herrera was part of the Spanish team that won the tournament in 2012. Although he did not play in any matches during the tournament, he was an important member of the squad and played a key role in helping his team to win the trophy.

Overall, Athletic Bilbao has produced several players who have enjoyed international success with their respective national teams. These players have not only brought glory to their countries but have also added to the rich history and tradition of Athletic Bilbao.

Youth Academy Graduates

Athletic Bilbao has a long-standing tradition of developing young players through their youth academy, with many of them going on to become successful players in La Liga and beyond. Here are two of the best youth academy graduates from Athletic Bilbao:

Fernando Amorebieta

Fernando Amorebieta is a Venezuelan defender who was a product of Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy. He made his first-team debut in 2005 and went on to play over 250 games for the club. Amorebieta was known for his physicality and aerial ability, and he formed a formidable partnership with Javi Martinez at the heart of Athletic’s defense.

Amorebieta’s performances at Athletic Bilbao earned him a move to Fulham in 2013, where he spent two seasons before moving to Middlesbrough. He currently plays for Cerro Porteno in Paraguay.

Asier Del Horno

Asier Del Horno is a retired Spanish left-back who also came through Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy. He made his first-team debut in 2000 and quickly established himself as one of the best left-backs in La Liga. Del Horno was known for his attacking prowess and his ability to score goals from defense.

Del Horno’s performances at Athletic Bilbao earned him a move to Chelsea in 2005, where he won the Premier League and the League Cup in his first season. However, he fell out of favor with manager Jose Mourinho in his second season and was eventually sold to Valencia. Del Horno retired in 2013 after a brief spell at Levante.

These two players are just a small sample of the many talented players who have come through Athletic Bilbao’s youth academy over the years. The club’s commitment to developing young players continues to this day, and they will undoubtedly produce many more stars in the future.

Club Records

Athletic Bilbao has a rich history of producing some of the best football players in the world. The club has a long list of records that are a testament to the quality of players that have played for the team. This section will highlight some of the most significant club records held by Athletic Bilbao.

All-Time Appearances

The player with the most appearances for Athletic Bilbao is José Ángel Iribar. Iribar played for Athletic Bilbao from 1962 to 1980 and made a total of 614 appearances for the club. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of Spanish football.

Another notable player with a significant number of appearances for Athletic Bilbao is Andoni Iraola. Iraola played for the club from 2003 to 2015 and made a total of 510 appearances. He is considered one of the best right-backs to have played for the club.

All-Time Goalscorers

Telmo Zarra is the all-time leading goalscorer in the history of Athletic Bilbao. Zarra played for the club from 1940 to 1955 and scored a total of 335 goals in 352 appearances. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the history of Spanish football.

Another notable player with a significant number of goals for Athletic Bilbao is José Iraragorri. Iraragorri played for the club from 1930 to 1947 and scored a total of 179 goals in 316 appearances. He is considered one of the best forwards to have played for the club.

It is worth noting that both Zarra and Iraragorri have won the Pichichi Trophy, which is awarded to the top goalscorer in La Liga each season, on multiple occasions. Zarra won it six times, while Iraragorri won it three times.

These are just some of the many club records that Athletic Bilbao holds. The club has a rich history of producing some of the best players in the world, and these records are a testament to the quality of players that have played for the team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the most iconic Athletic Bilbao players in history?

Athletic Bilbao has a rich history of producing some of the best footballers in the world. Some of the most iconic players in the club’s history include Telmo Zarra, Joseba Etxeberria, Andoni Zubizarreta, Julen Guerrero, and Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, also known as Pichichi. These players have made significant contributions to the club’s success and have become legends in their own right.

Which Basque footballers are considered the greatest in Athletic Club’s legacy?

Athletic Bilbao has always been known for its strong Basque identity and has a long tradition of producing some of the best Basque footballers in history. Some of the greatest Basque footballers who have played for Athletic Club include Joseba Etxeberria, Andoni Zubizarreta, Julen Guerrero, Ismael Urzaiz, and Aritz Aduriz. These players have not only represented Athletic Club with distinction but have also become symbols of Basque pride and identity.

Can you name any Athletic Bilbao players who also played for Atlético Madrid?

Several players have represented both Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid during their careers. Some of the notable players who have played for both clubs include Fernando Amorebieta, Jose Eulogio Gárate, and Fran Yeste. These players have made significant contributions to both clubs and have become fan favorites among their respective supporters.

What significant achievements has Athletic Bilbao accomplished in Spanish football?

Athletic Bilbao is one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history. The club has won La Liga eight times, the Copa del Rey 23 times, and the Supercopa de España twice. Additionally, Athletic Bilbao is one of only three clubs in La Liga that has never been relegated, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid. The club has also produced some of the greatest footballers in history, making significant contributions to Spanish football.

Who is recognized as Athletic Club’s best player in recent times?

In recent times, Aritz Aduriz is recognized as Athletic Club’s best player. Aduriz has been a key figure for the club since his return in 2012, scoring 141 goals in 293 appearances. He has also helped Athletic Club secure some significant victories, including their 2015 Supercopa de España win over Barcelona.

When did Athletic Bilbao last secure a major football trophy?

Athletic Bilbao’s last major football trophy was the 2015 Supercopa de España, where they defeated Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate. Since then, the club has come close to winning other major trophies, including the Copa del Rey in 2020, but has yet to secure another major title. However, the club remains one of the most successful and respected clubs in Spanish football history.