Aitor Karanka de la Hoz (Basque and Spanish pronunciation: [aiˈtoɾ kaˈɾaŋka]; born 18 September 1973) is a Spanish former footballer who played mainly as a central defender (on occasion, he occupied the left back position), and is a manager.
Karanka in 2009
|Full name||Aitor Karanka de la Hoz|
|Date of birth||18 September 1973|
|Place of birth||Vitoria, Spain|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Save for a brief spell in the United States, at the age of 32, he played solely in Spain for Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid, appearing in 275 La Liga matches over 13 seasons and winning a total of six honours with the latter.
Born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Álava, Karanka played as a youth with hometown club Deportivo Alavés and finished his formation with Basque neighbours Athletic Bilbao. He made his senior debut with the reserves of the latter in 1992, competing in the Segunda División.
Karanka was promoted to the main squad by Jupp Heynckes in 1993, following the departure of Rafael Alkorta. He made his La Liga debut on 7 November in a 1–1 away draw against Celta de Vigo (90 minutes played), going on to feature in exactly 100 league matches in his three full seasons before joining the German coach at Real Madrid in 1997 (replacing Alkorta who had just moved back to Bilbao).
Karanka only played once for Spain at senior level, on 26 April 1995 against Armenia for the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifiers, in Yerevan (2–0 win). He made 14 appearances for the under-21s, and was a member of the team that finished runners-up at the 1996 European Championship in a final lost to Italy.
Karanka was used mostly as a backup with the capital-based team but appeared in 33 UEFA Champions League matches for them, including the final of the 1999–2000 edition against Valencia CF (3–0 win). He missed the vast majority of the 1998–99 campaign, due to a heart condition.
For 2002–03, Karanka returned to Athletic Bilbao on a three-year contract with a €40 million buyout clause. He helped the Lions qualify for the UEFA Cup in his second year, after a fifth place in the league.
Karanka switched to Major League Soccer and the Colorado Rapids in 2006. In his only season in the United States he helped his team to the Western Conference play-off final, despite having his attempt saved by Darío Sala in the penalty shootout victory over FC Dallas in the semi-finals.
Karanka is notable for his previous work in youth coaching, working alongside the Spanish national team, coaching their under-23 and under-21 teams, before being appointed as the new manager of the under-16 Spanish team in 2008.
In June 2010, Karanka returned to former playing side Real Madird, after accepting the opportunity to work as the assistant of newly-appointed manager José Mourinho. In July 2013, following the departure of Mourinho and having held talks with the club over his future, Karanka confirmed that he had left his position of three years, following the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, who brought his own coaching staff.
On 13 November 2013, Karanka was appointed manager of Championship club Middlesbrough, replacing Tony Mowbray. His first game in charge ended in a 1–2 away defeat against Leeds United, ten days later.
On 25 April 2015, in the club's penultimate game of the season away to Fulham, Karanka sent goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos forward for an added-time corner kick, with the score 3–3: with the goalkeeper out of position, the opponents scored a winner through Ross McCormack, which sent Watford into the Premier League and jeopardised Middlesbrough's own chances of promotion. He did qualify his team to the play-off final after a 5–1 aggregate win over Brentford, but they lost the decisive match 0–2 to Norwich City at Wembley Stadium.
On 7 August 2015, Karanka signed a new four-year contract. Boro were consistently in high positions during the campaign, but on 11 March 2016 he unexpectedly left the training ground after an argument and considered his future at the club; responsibilities for the subsequent match, at Charlton Athletic, were handed to his assistant Steve Agnew, but the Spaniard returned to lead the team to the top division after a seven-year absence, as runners-up.
In 2016–17, Karanka led Middlesbrough to the last eight of the FA Cup, where they were eliminated by Manchester City. He was sacked on 16 March 2017, with the team three points from top-flight safety and without a league win in the new year (while their defence was the fifth-best in the division, their attack was the worst with just 19 goals from 27 games, and he had disagreements with players, fans and the board); club and manager parted ways by mutual consent, as the latter believed he could take the team no further.
On 8 January 2018, Karanka returned to the Championship after being appointed as manager of Nottingham Forest. One year and three days later, he departed the City Ground after having asked to be released from his contract; he left the team in seventh position, four points behind the play-off places.
Karanka's younger brother, David, was also a footballer. A striker, he also appeared for Athletic's first team but with much less impact, going on to spend the vast majority of his professional career in the second level or the lower leagues.
As a playerEdit
As a managerEdit
- As of match played 5 January 2019
|Middlesbrough||13 November 2013||16 March 2017||171||80||42||49||46.8|||
|Nottingham Forest||8 January 2018||11 January 2019||52||16||19||17||30.8|||
As a playerEdit
As a managerEdit
- "Butragueño: "Karanka representa los valores de la casa"" [Butragueño: "Karanka is what this place stands for"]. Marca (in Spanish). 7 June 2010. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world, says Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, after Barcelona win". The Daily Telegraph. 22 April 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- Delaney, Miguel (23 November 2012). "Karanka demanding focus from Real". ESPN FC. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- Mínguez, Antonio; Castañeda, Eduardo (7 November 1993). "Heynckes lleva a cabo la revolución que anunció" [Heynckes delivers promised revolution]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Galaz, Mábel (13 August 1997). "Karanka, defensa central del Athletic, acepta la oferta para fichar por el Madrid" [Karanka, Athletic central defender, accepts the offer to sign for Madrid]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- Carbajosa, Carlos E. (14 August 1997). "Llegó el central" [Stopper has arrived] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- Gallego, Jesús (27 April 1995). "Amavisca se estrena" [Amavisca gets his first]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Italia ya ganó un Europeo a España en el 1996" [Italy have already won European Championships against Spain in 1996] (in Spanish). Orgullo Bianconero. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Aitor Karanka – FIFA competition record
- "Aitor Karanka de la Hoz – Matches in European Cups". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 October 2006.
- "Real Madrid 3–0 Valencia". The Guardian. 24 May 2000. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
- Carbajosa, Carlos E. (4 March 1998). "Karanka y su corazón dicen hasta pronto" [Karanka and his heart say see you later]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 December 2010.
- Cuenca, Nika (29 May 2002). "El mejor refuerzo" [The best addition] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- "Real Madrid got real test from Union, says Kaká". Philadelphia Union. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Forbes, Brian (29 October 2006). "Shootout repeats history". The Denver Post. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Colino, Carmen (6 June 2010). "Karanka será el segundo entrenador que pidió Mourinho" [Karanka will be the assistant coach requested by Mourinho]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
- Collins, Paul (16 July 2013). "Aitor Karanka and Real Madrid part ways". Real Madrid News. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough name ex-Real Madrid man as boss". BBC Sport. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Leeds United 2–1 Middlesbrough". BBC Sport. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough risk dents Premier League dream". BBC Sport. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
- Newsum, Matt (15 May 2015). "Middlesbrough 3–0 Brentford". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Shepka, Phil (25 May 2015). "Middlesbrough 0–2 Norwich". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough head coach signs new deal". BBC Sport. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough head coach considering future at Riverside". BBC Sport. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- "Middlesbrough strike it rich with Premier League promotion". The Express Tribune. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- "Aitor Karanka: Middlesbrough sack manager after three and a half years". BBC Sport. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson says tired Aitor Karanka 'sacrificed himself'". Sky Sports. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "Nottingham Forest sign new manager". Nottingham Forest F.C. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "Aitor Karanka: Nottingham Forest manager leaves Championship club". BBC Sport. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
- "David Karanka desvela que Aitor puede volver a Bilbao" [David Karanka reveals Aitor may return to Bilbao]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 20 May 2002. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Ripalda, Pallarés (4 October 2011). "33 años no son nada" [33 years is nothing]. La Verdad (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Aitor Karanka at BDFutbol
- "Aitor Karanka". Worldfootball. Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- "Managers: Aitor Karanka". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
- Newsum, Matt (7 May 2016). "Middlesbrough 1–1 Brighton & Hove Albion". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- "Aitor Karanka named Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month". The Football League. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- "Aitor Karanka named Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month". Middlesbrough F.C. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Aitor Karanka named Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month". The Football League. 9 January 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.