Andoni Goikoetxea Releases Biography Recounting His Athletic Club Career And Life In Football
Throughout Athletic Club’s history there have been a handful of players who have come along and left a mark so great that they will live on as more than a legend. Andoni Goikoetxea is one of those players. The center-back was a product of the club’s youth academy, spent over 10 years at San Mamés, and to this day is still considered to be the best defender to ever wear the Zurigorri colors.
Goikoetxea had a storied career at Athletic, winning many titles, and fans will now have the opportunity to learn more about his time at the club. On Monday, Goikoetxea released his new biography Goiko 5: Corazon de León in a presentation at San Mamés attended by over 200 people including club directors and former teammates. The book was written by friend Carmelo Rodrigo and contains over 200 pages sharing the inside story of the mythical defender’s career along with iconic images.
“One day while going somewhere I asked Carmelo (Rodrigo), who has been a friend of mine for a long time and writes very well, if I could dare him to write a biography,” Goikoetxea explained. “He said yes. From there he left me nervous because when you do a biography it requires undressing and to open up.”
Releasing a biography is never an easy undertaking though the former defender wanted to do it for several reasons, including his grandson. Goikoetxea admitted that he really liked the idea of a biography, but once it was finished he had fallen in love with the project.
“I told Carmelo that it was something that I liked. The truth is that I love it because it’s a book with many images and special photographs. I wanted to change the writing for images because they bring me memories. I have a three-year-old grandson, Mateo, and giving him a biography for Aitite is one of the reasons I have done it.”
After retiring from football, The Butcher of Bilbao went into coaching but didn’t have the same success. His ultimate dream was to work for Athletic and he was finally given that chance back in August when he was hired as the club’s Representative and Foundation Ambassador.
“One of my greatest hopes has always been to work for Athletic, to be needed. Now they need me in this role and I will fulfill it as well as I can and I hope to meet expectations. I’m here for whatever Athletic needs. I have returned to where I’ve always wanted to be. I’m already Athletic where I like to be, where I started at 15 or 16 years old, and I’m happy to return home.”
Goikoetxea’s relationship with the former Board of Directors wasn’t great. The club legend openly criticized the way that former players were treated and now, as part of his new role, he is the one responsible for relations with ex-Lions.
“Former players like to be heard and the club should listen to them. Former players are very important in the history of Athletic because if we forget the past, surely we will forget tomorrow. The relationship with former players has greatly improved.”
The 63-year-old is very happy with the way is club is being run under president Aitor Elizegi and it’s not just because he works for Athletic now. Goikoetxea says he sees the improvements everywhere and is pleased with the changes.
“If I speak well of things they will tell me it’s because I work for the club now, but I speak for what I’ve seen and for other people. When you go to the Peñas 1,000 kilometers away they tell you ‘Athletic has changed and has changed a lot’. On a scale of one to ten it’s very high, a nine or ten.”
Goiko 5: Corazon de León is a collection of Andoni Goikoetxea’s experience as a player, opinions on football, and anecdotes about his career with Athletic. There are many special photographs throughout the book which is available for purchase at any official Athletic store as well as the online shop. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Bizitegi Association.