Agirretxe in 2010
|Full name||Imanol Agirretxe Arruti|
|Date of birth||24 February 1987|
|Place of birth||Usurbil, Spain|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2004–2008||Real Sociedad B||108||(33)|
|2007||→ Castellón (loan)||8||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Aside from a short loan spell at Castellón, his entire professional career was spent at Real Sociedad. At the latter club, he amassed competitive totals of 272 matches and 75 goals, while in La Liga alone he scored 56 times from 180 appearances.
Born in Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, Agirretxe was a product of Real Sociedad's youth system. He first appeared with the first team in 2004–05, amassing three substitute appearances – during his second, a 1–3 home loss against Málaga CF on 15 May 2005, he managed to score after just 16 minutes on the pitch; in the following three seasons combined, however, he only played nine league matches, and also served a six-month loan spell at CD Castellón in the second division.
In 2008–09's second level, Agirretxe appeared regularly for the main squad, mainly due to the serious injury to Iñigo Díaz de Cerio. He netted nine goals in 28 games, but the Basques again failed to return to La Liga.
Again mainly a backup after the signing on loan of Uruguayan Carlos Bueno, Agirretxe scored six times in the following campaign, in 36 matches, as Real finally promoted as champions. In 2011–12, following Raúl Tamudo's departure and the continuous physical problems that bothered Joseba Llorente, he was finally made first-choice, and netted three goals in his first two league games: two against Sporting de Gijón in a 2–1 away win and one against FC Barcelona, helping the hosts come from behind 0–2 for an eventual 2–2 draw; he finished with ten successful strikes, only trailing Carlos Vela in the squad.
On 19 January 2013, Agirretxe came from the bench for the last six minutes of a home fixture against Barcelona, and scored in the last minute to seal a 3–2 comeback win (Real Sociedad trailed 0–2 in the 40th minute) and end the Catalans' unbeaten domestic run. At the season's end he again finished second in team scoring (13), again only behind Vela.
At the start of the 2015–16 campaign, Agirretxe was in the best goalscoring form of his career, scoring 12 times in the first 13 league matches. He suffered an injury to his left ankle during a loss to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on 30 December 2015, and returned sooner than expected the following February, netting in a 1–1 home draw against Málaga after only seven minutes on the pitch. Shortly after, however, he relapsed from his ailment, going on to be sidelined for more than one year; in June 2016, while absent from playing, he renewed his contract until summer 2020.
After impressing in the 2017–18 pre-season, Agirretxe made a return to competitive action on 19 August 2017 following a 20-month hiatus, replacing captain Xabi Prieto as their team came from behind to defeat hosts Celta de Vigo 3–2 in the opening round of league fixtures. He made 13 appearances across all competitions, but only played more than 45 minutes in two of them.
On 29 August 2018, Agirretxe announced his retirement from playing professionally at the age of 31, having never fully recovered from his 2015 injury. In a press conference, he expressed that it was "A very happy day", reflecting on his satisfaction in the decision he had made after his long struggles to return to peak condition, also speaking of his pride in representing Real Sociedad and respect he had for the staff at the club.
|Club||Season||League||Cup||Continental[nb 1]||Other[nb 2]||Total|
|Real Sociedad B||2004–05||Segunda División B||23||7||–||–||–||23||7|
|Real Sociedad||2004–05||La Liga||3||1||0||0||–||–||3||1|
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- "El Málaga golea a una pasiva Real" [Málaga rout passive Real]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 15 May 2005. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- García, D. (25 January 2007). "Agirretxe llega cedido y es el primer fichaje invernal del Castellón" [Agirretxe arrives on loan and is Castellón's first winter signing]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 February 2018.
- "Díaz de Cerio se fractura tibia y peroné" [Díaz de Cerio fractures tibia and fibula]. Marca (in Spanish). 8 November 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Agirretxe at the double for Sociedad". ESPN Soccernet. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Sociedad peg Barca back". ESPN Soccernet. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
- "Sociedad stun Barca". ESPN FC. 19 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Sánchez, Ramón (19 April 2013). "Si Agirretxe gol, no problem" [If Agirretxe goal, no problem]. Noticias de Gipuzkoa (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 November 2017.
- Ardila, Alberto (29 April 2013). "Enchufados a Agirretxe" [On Agirretxe's back]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- Encinas, M. (15 May 2013). "Una vuelta de 10" [Second part of season worth 10]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- Pazos, Pablo (30 December 2015). "Imanol Agirretxe, el goleador que solo hablaba en euskera" [Imanol Agirretxe, the scorer who only spoke in euskera]. ABC. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Agirretxe no jugará más esta temporada" [Agirretxe will not play again this season]. El Desmarque. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Agirretxe se daña el tobillo izquierdo y deja su sitio a Bruma" [Agirretxe hurts left ankle and makes way for Bruma] (in Spanish). Eurosport. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Badallo, Óscar (26 February 2016). "Agirretxe vuelve a estar disponible dos meses después" [Agirretxe becomes available again two months later]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Real Sociedad 1–1 Málaga". ESPN FC. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Agirretxe, cronología de un calvario" [Agirretxe, chronology of an ordeal]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 30 August 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Badallo, Óscar (24 October 2016). "Agirretxe avanza hacia su recuperación definitiva" [Agirretxe heads towards definitive recovery]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- Ulacia, Aitor (28 December 2016). "Agirretxe y Bergara serán los refuerzos" [Agirretxe and Bergara will be the additions] (in Spanish). Gipuzkoa Gaur. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Agirretxe agrees Sociedad extension". FourFourTwo. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "Imanol Agirretxe, el delantero más productivo en la pretemporada realista" [Imanol Agirretxe, the most productive forward in the Real preseason] (in Spanish). EITB. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "La Real Sociedad se estrena con victoria" [Real Sociedad open with victory] (in Spanish). EITB. 19 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Rivas, Jon (29 August 2018). "Aquel maldito choque con Keylor" [That damn clash with Keylor]. El País. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
- "Real Sociedad striker Agirretxe retires". Football España. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- Badallo, Óscar (29 August 2018). "Agirretxe en su despedida: "Hoy es un día muy feliz para mí"" [Agirretxe in his farewell: "Today is a very happy day for me"]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 August 2018.
- "Agirretxe". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Imanol Agirretxe". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Imanol Agirretxe at ESPN FC