Aitor Elizegi Announces That Rafael Alkorta Will Serve As His Sporting Director

Rafa Alkorta

Rafa Alkorta will serve as Athletic’s Sporting Director under Aitor Elizegi

With just three days until voting takes place to decide who will be the next President of Athletic Club, candidate Aitor Elizegi has presented his sporting project. On Christmas Eve he announced that former Athletic defender Rafael Alkorta will serve as his Sporting Director and will be accompanied by fellow Lezama graduate Andoni Ayarza who will be the Technical Secretary. Lastly, Manolo Delgado, who has worked as a trainer for the first team and Spain National Team, will be an external advisor to Elizegi’s Board of Directors and is “Joining the project to lend a helping hand from experience”.

Alkorta revealed to the media that he has been preparing for the role of Sporting Director for a few years now. He and Ayarza were originally going to be part of José Antonio Jainaga’s campaign, but the President of Sidenor chose not to run in the Athletic elections. Alkorta then agreed to join Elizegi’s team and has a project that will aim to make Lezama the best academy in European football.

“Jainga was the first to trust me and my group with our project. Once he decided not to present himself I went to talk with him and he told me that my project is still alive. I had many meetings and asked him if I could share my plan with other people. We explained what we wanted to do and he liked it. We will try to be the best in everything, first team and Lezama, and surround ourselves with the best professionals.”

Alkorta refused to discuss those currently working at Lezama but says that he will speak with everyone if he takes over as the Sporting Director in order to put his project into place. The goal is ultimately to make Lezama the best academy in all of European football.

“I’m not going to talk about the people that are working there now, only about what we have. If we do arrive we will talk to all those who are already inside Lezama because our project is open. We have been think thinking for years about what Athletic and what Lezama need. Lezama is the essence of Athletic and we are going to do everything possible to make it the best academy in Europe and for Athletic to be able to believe, feel, and dream.”

Unlike Alberto Uribe-Echevarría’s plan to split the Sporting Director and Director of Lezama into two separate roles, Alkorta “Would have command of Lezama from top to bottom and in recruitment, scouting, and signings”. The fact that he has been preparing a project for several years definitely makes this a big move for Aitor Elizegi just days before the polls open.

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