Athletic: In black to honor Iribar | Sports| The USA Print

Athletic: In black to honor Iribar |  Sports

Akis Ikonomopoulos is not a name that sounds like much in football history, although he was an international goalkeeper for Greece, played for Panathinaikos and played in a European Cup final at Wembley in 1971, against Ajax. That day he played in black, but on his jersey he did not wear the clover that appears as the emblem of the Greek club, but the imperial eagle that was embroidered on the shirts of the Spanish team before the death of the dictator Franco. That was not the official uniform of his team, but the jersey that José Ángel Iribar gave him after Spain-Greece, a friendly played in Zaragoza. Ikonomopoulos played all the matches of that European Cup with the black Chopo shirt. “Firstly because of my admiration for Iribar, who was one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and secondly because in Greece things weren’t very good in terms of equipment in those years,” he recalled.

Iribar’s black was a symbol and it will also be the color of the Biscayan goalkeepers next weekend. José Ángel Iribar turns 80 this Wednesday and the goalkeepers of all the teams in the territory will honor him during the filming of the uniform that became emblematic for a large part of the extensive sports career of the footballer who has played the most times for Athletic, curiously, without ever wearing the red and white shirt.

The club has sent a letter to its 167 agreed clubs inviting them to dress their goalkeepers in black on the first day of March, to be played between Friday the 3rd and Sunday the 5th. In addition, it is a proposal open to all club that wants to have a gesture of recognition to Iribar. In the First Division there is at least one goalkeeper who will do it, Alex Remiro, from Real Sociedad, who has been asked by his club to wear black against Cádiz.

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