The Manager

Joseba Etxeberria

Joseba Etxeberria Lizardi (born 5 September 1977) is a Spanish retired footballer who played mostly as a winger, and is the current manager of CD Tenerife.

After starting his professional career at the age of 17 with Real Sociedad, he quickly switched to Athletic Bilbao, going on to spend the rest of his extensive career there.

Exteberria earned more than 50 caps for Spain, representing the nation in one World Cup and two European Championships.

He amassed La Liga totals of 336 games and eight goals over the course of 13 seasons, representing in the competition Mallorca (two spells), Tenerife and Sevilla. He won five major titles with the latter, including two UEFA Cups.

Playing Carreer

Born in Elgoibar, Gipuzkoa, Etxeberria began his career with Real Sociedad, making his La Liga debut at only 17 in a 2–0 home win against RCD Español on 29 January 1995. That summer, he moved to neighbouring Athletic Bilbao in a controversial transfer that cost over €3 million and caused the clubs to break off formal relations – at the time, it was the highest transfer fee paid for an under-18 player in Spanish football. When he returned to Anoeta Stadium in 2001, the Real Sociedad supporters prepared banners of his face on banknotes denoting him as a ‘mercenary’, and when he scored they responded with a hail of bottles and verbal abuse which earned the organization a fine from the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

In 1997–98, Etxeberria scored 11 league goals as Athletic finished second, achieving a career-best 14 five seasons later. He netted the goal that took his team into the group stage of the UEFA Champions League as they overcame FC Dinamo Tbilisi on the away goals rule, and repeated the feat in that phase of the competition against Rosenborg BK (1–1 home draw); in his first 12 years he never appeared in less than 28 league games, his lowest scoring output being three in the 2004–05 and 2006–07 campaigns, while he was also eventually awarded team captaincy.

On 1 October 2008, already playing second-fiddle, Etxeberria agreed a deal with the Basque side according to which he effectively played 2009–10, his last season as a professional, for free, after his contract expired in June 2009.

Etxeberria’s last year was not a successful one individually as he only appeared in seven league matches, adding another seven with two goals in the season’s UEFA Europa League, including his final for the club (a late penalty equaliser) against C.D. Nacional in the group phase of the UEFA Europa League on 5 November 2009. On 15 May 2010 he was replaced to a standing ovation in Athletic’s 2–0 home win against Deportivo de La Coruña, and represented his main club in 514 official matches (104 goals), third-best in its history only behind José Ángel Iribar and Txetxu Rojo.

Etxeberria’s testimonial match at the San Mamés Stadium was played against 200 children, and he scored twice in a 5–3 win.


After leading the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship scoring charts and winning fourth place, Etxeberria moved up to the Spain full national team, making his debut on 19 November 1997 in a friendly match against Romania in Palma, Majorca and scoring in the 1–1 draw.

He was capped 53 times and netted 12 goals, representing his country at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000 and Euro 2004. On 18 June, in the second tournament, he scored the 2–1 winner in the group stage match against Slovenia.

Etxeberria also featured for the unofficial Basque Country side in 11 matches, a record number of appearances at the time which was honoured by the territorial federation upon his retirement.

Coaching career

Etxeberria began a coaching career after retiring, his first job being with the Basque Country representative youth teams. In 2012 he returned to Athletic, starting out at the youth academy; having spent so many years at the club as a player, he described the Lezama training centre as a “second home”.

In 2015, Etxeberria moved to the first team under manager Ernesto Valverde. The following year he was appointed at affiliate CD Basconia, controlling a group of players he had previously managed at the Juvenil age group level.

In summer 2017, Etxberria departed from the Athletic structure and moved within the same region to become manager of third-tier side SD Amorebieta, replacing the departed Aitor Larrazábal (a former Athletic teammate and coaching colleague). On 5 February of the following year, he replaced fired José Luis Martí at the helm of CD Tenerife.