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Imanol Etxeberria Egaña (born 27 March 1973) is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

Imanol Etxeberria
Personal information
Full name Imanol Etxeberria Egaña
Date of birth (1973-03-27) 27 March 1973 (age 46)
Place of birth Bergara, Spain
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1994 Mondragón
1994–1995 Durango
1995–1996 Bilbao Athletic 35 (0)
1996–2001 Athletic Bilbao 120 (0)
2001–2004 Rayo Vallecano 63 (0)
2004–2005 Cultural Leonesa 28 (0)
2005–2006 Eibar 32 (0)
Total 278 (0)
National team
1998–2003 Basque Country 4 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He appeared in 175 La Liga matches during seven seasons, with Athletic Bilbao and Rayo Vallecano.


Playing careerEdit

Early years / AthleticEdit

Born in Bergara, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Etxeberria began playing with local Mondragón FC in Tercera División, based in Arrasate. In 1994 he moved to SCD Durango at the same level, helping them promote to Segunda División B in his sole season.

Exteberria's performances drew the attention of regional giants Athletic Bilbao, and in summer 1995 he was signed on the recommendation of goalkeeping legend José Ángel Iribar, joining a professional club for the first time at the relatively old age of 22.[1] He was initially assigned to the reserve team, who was eventually relegated from Segunda División.

Etxeberria was promoted to the main squad for 1996–97, and after spending the first half of the campaign as back-up to Juanjo Valencia he made his La Liga debut on 9 February 1997 in a 1–1 away draw against Rayo Vallecano,[2] and subsequently became the starter. The former later stated that he enjoyed competition between them, and that he considered the latter a friend (both went on to work as youth coaches at San Mamés).[3]

In 1997–98, Etxeberria played all 38 league games as the Lions finished in second position, adding 37 the following season. In that year's UEFA Champions League group stage, even though his team ranked last, he conceded only six goals in as many matches.[3]

Etxeberria eventually lost his starting position to Iñaki Lafuente,[4] being further demoted to third-choice by fellow youth graduate Daniel Aranzubia under manager Txetxu Rojo. He was willing to leave the club, but Athletic asked for a transfer fee which no other clubs were willing to meet, so he remained on the payroll without making a single appearance during the 2000–01 campaign;[1] he left on 30 June 2001, having made 140 appearances all competitions comprised.

Rayo / Later careerEdit

Etxeberria then moved to fellow league side Rayo Vallecano, replacing the departed Kasey Keller. In his first season he beat competition from veteran Julen Lopetegui, helping to an 11th-place finish.

From 2002 to 2004, Etxeberria played 35 league games but was also consecutively relegated. In the latter campaign, which saw Lopetegui kickstart his managerial career, the player was largely overlooked in favour of Sergio Segura by Lopetegui's successor Jorge D'Alessandro, who then brought in another goalkeeper, his compatriot Sebastián Saja, on loan; Rojo became the third coach in February 2004, and he also had no place in his plans for Etxeberria, who was released and trained with Bilbao Athletic to stay fit.[1]

Etxeberria then dropped down to the third level to play for Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa, leaving at the end of the season. He returned to division two and his native region in the summer of 2005, being first-choice for SD Eibar but being relegated as last; he then chose to retire from the game, aged 33.


Etxeberria never earned any caps for Spain at any level. He did feature for the unofficial Basque Country regional team.[5]

Coaching careerEdit

Afterwards, Etxeberria spent some years as goalkeeping coach for Athletic's youth teams, interrupted by a spell performing the same role at SD Lemona working under his former teammate Aitor Larrazábal.[1] In 2012, he became Bilbao Athletic's goalkeeping coach as part of the backroom team led by another former teammate, José Angel Ziganda.[6]

When Ziganda was promoted to senior team boss in summer 2017, Etxeberria moved up with him to continue in his specialist role.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

Etxeberria operated a training scheme for young goalkeepers, based in Deusto.[8]

He was not related to Joseba Etxeberria, his teammate for several years at Athletic and later a colleague on the coaching staff at the club. Coincidentally, they were raised just a few miles from one another (Joseba hailed from Elgoibar).


  1. ^ a b c d "Imanol Etxeberria: "Fui una apuesta de Iribar"" [Imanol Etxeberria: "I was a bet of Iribar"]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 29 January 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Urzaiz no perdona en Vallecas" [Urzaiz does not forgive in Vallecas]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 10 February 1997. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Imanol Etxeberria, el guardián de la Champions" [Imanol Etxeberria, the Champions goalkeeper]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 8 July 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Lafuente stays at Bilbao". Sky Sports [date stamp on page broken]. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Euskadi 5–1 Nigeria" (in Spanish). Euskal Selekzioa. 29 November 1999. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ "Etxeberria, al Juvenil Nacional" [Etxeberria, to Juvenil Nacional]. El Correo (in Spanish). 15 July 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Technical staff of the premier team". Athletic Bilbao. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Imanol Etxeberria: "Hoy día un portero marca mucho el estilo de juego de un equipo"" [Imanol Etxeberria: "Nowadays the goalkeeper affects a team's style of play a lot"] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2017.

External linksEdit