Athletic Mourns The Passing Of Club Legend Koldo Aguirre
The Athletic world is mourning the loss of Koldo Aguirre who passed away at the age of 80 in Bilbao this week. Having struggled with an illness for a while, the great captain has moved on and deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest players and people to ever represent Athletic. His funeral will be held at the church of San Pedro de Deusto on Friday evening.
Aguirre made his first-team debut when he was just 18 years old and would start in the 1958 Cup final against Real Madrid who were led by Alfredo Di Stéfano. The match took place at the Santiago Bernabeu and was immortalized as Real Madrid’s 2-0 loss to 11 villagers. It was the first of two Cups won by Aguirre during his playing career, during which the legendary midfielder featured in 294 games and scored 64 goals.
After playing with Athletic from 1957-1969, Aguirre left for Sabadell to be closer to his brother who had been diagnosed with leukemia. The midfielder featured in just three games before announcing his retirement from football. Aguirre would then go into coaching where he found himself managing Bilbao Athletic in 1975 and then moved up to the first team the following year.
As the Athletic manager, Aguirre led the team to the 1977 European Cup final and Copa del Rey final. Despite not winning either, it was a tremendous season and he continued to coach the Lions until 1979. In 1990, Aguirre returned to the club as the Head of Lezama and eventually moved into the role of Ambassador where he and friend José Mari Argoitia regularly visited the Peñas.
From player to captain to coach to Ambassador, Koldo Aguirre fully embodied what it meant to be Athletic. His personality and love for the club were unrivaled and he was loved fiercely by everyone who ever met him. “We will continue like this forever”, Aguirre said three years ago when describing the club to AthleticTV. “We are different and for that reason I’m very satisfied to have participated in so many things for this Club.” Koldo Aguirre was Athletic and his memory will live on forever. Goian bego Koldo!