Athletic Club Legend Andoni Iraola Named Manager Of AEK Larnaca
Andoni Iraola is one of the best players to ever wear the Athletic shirt. After joining Lezama in 1999 he made it all the way to the first team where he went on to feature in over 400 matches and serve as team Captain. He left the club in 2015 when it was clear that he would not play regular minutes anymore and joined MLS side New York City FC where he spent one season before finally hanging up his boots. Iraola didn’t leave the world of football though as he quickly took a job as a Juvenil coach at famous youth academy Antiguko, where he attended before Lezama.
The former right-back has always had a brilliant mind for the game of football and coaching seemed like the natural avenue to pursue after his playing career was over. Now Iraola is set to take another huge step forward. On Wednesday, Cypriot club AEK Larnaca announced that they had hired Andoni Iraola as their new manager and he will serve in the position on a two-year contract. The team finished fourth in the table this year and had the following to say about hiring Iraola.
“AEK Larnaca announces the beginning of the relationship for the next two years with Spaniard Andoni Iraola who will serve in the position as manager of our football team. The AEK family welcomes Andoni and wishes him much success.”
Iraola will be following in the footsteps of several others from Spain who have played a role in building AEK Larnaca. In 2014 the Cypriots began their Spanish revolution which has seen the club managed by coaches from the country and have featured several Spanish players in the team. Iraola will be replacing fellow Basque Imanol Idiakez who has been leading the team since 2016. In addition, Basque midfielder Ander Murillo, who has played for AEK since 2011, will be retiring and taking over as the club’s Sporting Director to serve alongside Andoni Iraola.