Spain Football – Team Profile: Athletic Bilbao

Overview of Athletic Bilbao Football Team

Athletic Club Bilbao, commonly referred to as Athletic Bilbao or simply Athletic, is a professional football club from the Basque region in north-central Spain. Athletic Bilbao is one of the most successful clubs in Spain, having won eight La Liga titles, 23 Copa del Rey titles, and two Supercopa de España titles.

History of the Team

Athletic Bilbao was founded in 1898, making it one of the oldest football clubs in Spain. The club’s early success was mainly due to its Basque-only policy, which meant they only signed players who were born or raised in the Basque Country. This policy became a defining characteristic of the club, known as the ‘cantera’ (Basque for quarry), and is still followed to this day.

In 1928, Athletic Bilbao became one of the founding members of La Liga, the top-tier football league in Spain. The club quickly established itself as a major force in Spanish football, winning its first La Liga title in 1930. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Athletic Bilbao remained a dominant force in Spanish football, winning the Copa del Rey six times in eight years.

Notable Players

Over the years, Athletic Bilbao has produced some of Spain’s greatest football players. Among the club’s most famous players are Telmo Zarra, regarded as one of the greatest strikers in Spanish football history; Jose Angel Iribar, who spent his entire career with Athletic Bilbao and became a club legend; and Andoni Zubizarreta, who went on to play for Barcelona and the Spanish national team.


Athletic Bilbao has had many successful coaches over the years, including the legendary Javier Clemente, who led the team to two La Liga titles in the 1980s. Other notable coaches include Ernesto Valverde, who won the Copa del Rey twice with the club, and Marcelo Bielsa, who managed the team from 2011 to 2013, leading them to the Europa League final in 2012.

Most Successful Season

Athletic Bilbao’s most successful season came in 1984, when they won both the La Liga title and the Copa del Rey. The team, coached by Javier Clemente, was led by the goals of striker Telmo Zarra and the goalkeeping heroics of Andoni Zubizarreta.


Athletic Bilbao is owned by its own supporters, making it one of the few professional football clubs in the world to operate as a member-owned cooperative. This unique ownership structure has been in place since the club’s inception and is a major part of Athletic Bilbao’s identity.


Athletic Bilbao plays its home matches at the San Mamés Stadium, also known as ‘La Catedral’. The stadium was built in 2013, replacing the club’s previous home ground of the same name. With a capacity of over 53,000, it is one of the largest stadiums in Spain and a key part of Athletic Bilbao’s identity as a club.

In conclusion, Athletic Bilbao Football has a rich history in Spanish football, with a unique Basque-only policy and a dedicated fan base. The club’s success on the field has been led by legendary players and coaches over the years, and their member-owned cooperative ownership structure sets them apart from other professional football clubs. With their impressive stadium and passionate fans, Athletic Bilbao is a major force in Spanish football and a team to watch for years to come.

Athletic Bilbao Official Website
BBC Sport – Athletic Bilbao Team Page
ESPN FC – Athletic Bilbao Team Page

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