Athletic Pay Tribute To The Late Piru Gaínza
Agustín Gaínza was one of the greatest players to ever wear the Athletic shirt and represented the club throughout his entire career. Nicknamed Piru, the left-winger made history as the second youngest player to ever debut for Athletic in January of 1939 when he was fielded against Erandio at the age of 16 years, 7 months, and 18 days. The record would stand for over 60 years until it was eventually broken by Iker Muniain in 2009.
After making his official La Liga debut in October of 1940, Gaínza would go on to enjoy a 21 year career with Athletic where he would feature in 494 matches while scoring a total of 152 goals. Gaínza formed a lethal attack alongside other legends such as Rafael Iriondo, Venancio García, Telmo Zarra, and Panizo and won 7 Copa del Rey titles during his career, more than any other player in club history, along with two league titles.
Following his retirement, Gaínza soon began coaching and would serve as the manager of Bilbao Athletic in 1965. The following season, Gaínza became the first team manager and led the team for three years. After being replaced by former teammate Rafael Iriondo, Gaínza wouldn’t manage another club but did serve as an assistant coach for Athletic under Javier Clemente in 1984 when the team last won the league title.
The great Piru Gaínza passed away on 6 January, 1995 at the age of 72 in his hometown of Basauri, Bizkaia. Today, on the 25th anniversary of his passing, Iker Muniain, Aritz Aduriz, Mikel San José, Gaizka Garitano, and Rafa Alkorta paid tribute to the late legend by placing a bouquet of flowers by his statue at Lezama.