Txetxu Redthe legendary soccer player Athletic Clubpassed away this Friday at the age of 75 in Bilbao. The second man with the most games played in the history of the group of san mamesleaves an incredible legacy and a sports career completely linked to the Basque team in his career as a player.
He made his debut at the age of 18 in the Athletic Club first team in 1965 and, from then until 1982, he completed a total of 541 appearances with the rojiblanca shirt. In them, he scored a total of 68 goals to the delight of the San Mamés crowd. In disputed matches with the lions, he is only surpassed by another emblematic figure such as iribar, with a total of 614 games.
In his palmares, Red leaves two King’s Cups with Athletic, those of 1969 and 1973. Nicknamed ‘powderdust’ by his teammates, his way of moving on the pitch stood out and, especially with his actions from the left wing, he impressed the Basque public for years.
▪️ 17 seasons in the #AthleticClub
▪️ 541 games, second with the most matches in red-and-white history, only behind Iribar.
▪️ A ball genius, an unforgettable left foot
A legend leaves.
⚫️ Goian bego, Txetxu ✨
— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) December 23, 2022
man from a club
Born on January 28, 1947 in Bilbao, Jose Francisco Rojo Arroita became one of the great emblems of a club as big as the Athletic Club. A footballer with exceptional technique, even more so at a time when physique prevailed, he made his debut at the hands of Piru Gainza. That was the beginning of a long career that ended with 17 seasons in the same team and 541 games wearing the same shirt.
A total of 68 goals contemplate Rojo’s career as a footballer, of which 47 were in League, 17 in Copa del Rey and another 4 more in Europe. Precisely in the continental competitions he signed one of the saddest days of him, since he was at the gates of achieving the UEFA Cup in 1977. In the final, which was played at that time in two games, the lions could not with the Juventus.
In its golden pages, however, appear the two Copas del Rey that he managed to raise with the club of his life. The first of these was in 1969 and the second in 1973. He was also about to win the League in the 1969/1970 season, but only one point prevented him from winning this title, which he kept on Atletico Madrid.
[Cacereño-Real Madrid e Intercity-FC Barcelona, principales eliminatorias de dieciseisavos de la Copa]
He was, therefore, a one-club man during his time as a player. He never left the ranks of Athletic Club and spent 17 seasons, his entire career, playing in San Mamés without feeling the need to leave home.
After his retirement, his professional life continued to be linked to football as it could not be otherwise. He soon joined the organization chart of the Athletic Club base, and came to direct the subsidiary, the Bilbao Athletic. He continued to grow and came to sit on the bench of the first team, although he did so as an assistant to Kendall.
In the 1989/1990 season, with the Athletic Plunged into a great crisis, he took the reins of the first team definitively, although his experience at the helm did not last long. Later he undertook, this time as a coach, the adventure away from home. He came to train Celta de Vigo, Club Atlético Osasuna, the disappeared Esportiva Lleida Union Y Salamanca Sports Union, either Real Zaragozaall this before returning to San Mames.
Christmas parties, but a sad day, we have lost a friend, a great Athletic player and above all a beautiful person Txetxu Rojo will be unforgettable for us, a hug to the family.
— Javier Clemente (@JaviClemente_) December 23, 2022
He returned for the 2000/2001 season, but his tenure was not too long either. His last experience on a bench was in charge of the Vallecano Ray in 2004, at which time he left football.
The memory of Athletic
His lifelong club, Athletic, remembered him and gave him an emotional farewell. “In a club riddled with legends, one of the greatest is leaving us, a true rojiblanco myth, with a fabulous career. A silky left-footed foot, pure ingenuity in the pass and center into the area,” said the San Mamés entity.
“A man from the Club with capital letters, 100% Athletic, who once retired, coached the team in 70 official matches, in the 1989/90 and 2000/01 seasons, without the same success he had as a player, but with the same dedication and gives to the club of his life”, affirmed the club. In addition, he confirmed that in the next few hours he will report how his farewell will take place.
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