Sports Nicknames - The Butcher of Bilbao

Andoni Goikoetxea is the former professional football player and manager, whose loyalty, aggressiveness and physicality earned him the nickname that forever linked him to his team. The reliable center-back started his playing career at Athletico Bilboa and remained a part of their system for a decade and a half.

Andoni Goikoetxea, known as the Butcher of Bilbao - Player profile illustration.  Drawing.  Avatar art.

Goikoetxea started his youth career with Athletic Bilbao at the age of 17 and embarked on a journey that saw him win several trophies and awards, while also fetching him two intriguing nicknames.


The Butcher of Bilbao:

The nickname that became famous all around the world was a result of Goikoetxea's famous foul on the Argentinian legend, Diego Maradona.

Maradona Foul:

In 1983, Goikoetxea was up against Diego Maradona in a league match at Camp Nou. During the game, Goikoetxea committed a foul, which is often regarded as one of the most brutal fouls in the history of Spanish Football. The harsh tackle resulted in an ankle injury for Maradona, who described the sound of ankle-breaking as the sound of wood-breaking. The incident caught everyone's attention, and Goikoetxea was at the receiving end of severe criticism. Some people even called for a life ban on Goikoetxea for his inhuman act. Eventually, Goikoetxea was handed a 10-match ban for the foul.

The English journalist Edward Owen used the phrase "Butcher of Bilbao" to describe Goikoetxea's aggressive gameplay and instincts. To date, this remains one of the most unpleasant nicknames in football history.

Earlier in his career, the Butcher of Bilbao had injured the Barcelona midfielder Bernd Schuster in a similar manner.

It was later reported that the Butcher of Bilbao kept the Maradona-injury boot in a glass case at home.

While his aggressive style earned him a controversial nickname, the English newspaper "The Times" called him the hardest defender of all time.

The Giant of Alonsotegi:

This nickname was also a result of Goikoetxea's aggression and physical build. Goikoetxea was 6 ft 1 inch tall and was from a municipality of Alonsotegi. Based on that, he was often called "The Giant of Alonsotegi".

Both the nicknames show how aggressive and physically engaging Goikoetxea was on the playing field.

Achievements and Honours:

Goikoetxea won two consecutive La Liga titles in 1982-83 and 1983-84 while also clinching the Copa Del Rey in the 1983-84 season. In addition to that, Bilbao won the Supercoppa de Espana 1984.

In 1984, the Spanish football team also finished second in the UEFA European Championships.


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