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To get a nickname like the 'Butcher of Bilbao', you have to be one seriously hard b******.
Although admittedly playing for Atletico Bilbao does help too.
Tough, crude and brutal, Andoni Goikoetxea was not a man you wanted to mess with – as Diego Maradona once found out.
Also nicknamed 'Goiko', he has legendary status at Bilbao where he won two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.
Goikoetxea made over 350 appearances for the Basque club, but is best remembered for his, let's say, uncompromising nature.
Though his disciplinary record was awful, the former centre-half achieved particular notoriety for his x-rated challenges.
Talented German youngster Bernd Schuster, who would later go on to manage Real Madrid, felt the full force of the Goikoetxea's brutality during a game between Bilbao and Barcelona in 1981.
The 21-year-old had set off on a run midway in the opposition half when he was scythed down by a tackle from the Spaniard that was as late as it was premeditated.
Schuster suffered a ruptured ACL which kept him out of a season that saw Barcelona go on to win La Liga.
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But that was nothing compared to what Goikoetxea had in store for El Diego.
Two years later, on September 24, 1984, Bilbao visited the Camp Nou for a run of the mill league game against the Catalan giants.
There would be nothing run of the mill about what happened to Maradona midway through the match.
Receiving a pass with his back to goal, the Argentina superstar was tracked by Golikoetxea who dived in and clattered into the forward.
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Maradona would be stretchered off, his ankle broken and ligaments in tatters, and unable to return to the football pitch for a year.
Barcelona manager and Maradona’s fellow Argentine, Cesar Luis Menotti, after the match described Goikoetxea as belonging to a "race of anti-footballers."
Menotti also called for a lifetime ban for the 'Butcher of Bilbao' who was eventually suspended for 18 matches instead, a punishment that was later reduced to seven on appeal.
In his book Maradona; The Hand of God, author Jimmy Burns called it "one of the most brutal fouls in the history of Spanish football."
Maradona himself, meanwhile, compared the challenge to an "axe blow."
"I just felt the impact, heard the sound – like a piece of wood cracking – and realised immediately what had happened," he said.
According to some reports, Goikoetxea was so proud of the infamous tackle that he still has the boots he wore on the day.
It was once claimed that he keeps them in a glass cabinet in his living room.
Despite that notorious incident 30 years ago, Goikoetxea was as sad as anyone else when El Diego passed away from a heart attack last November.
"I just found about about Maradona’s death," Goikoetxea wrote at the time. "It makes me very sad. He was a genius who was born to play football. Rest in peace, Diego."
- Diego Maradona
- La Liga
- Barcelona FC
- Athletic Bilbao FC
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