The Special One Football Club Athletic Club is not just an historical club but also one of the biggest sides in the Spanish LaLiga competition. Among other recognitions, they have won 8 domestic leagues and 24 Spanish Cups, despite there is an unfinished job as Athletic lost the three European finals they were in.
The first chance came in the 1955/56 Latin Cup when they dominated completely the league and seemed the right candidate to lift the trophy. That was an international football tournament for club sides from the Latin European nations of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Athletic Club defeated Niza in the semifinals as AC Milan outscored Benfica 4-2 to meet the Basque side in the final held in Milan.
Unluckily, the Athletic squad made up of great players such as Carmelo, Orue, Garay, Canito, Mauri, Maguregi, Artetxe, Marcaida, Arieta, Uribe and Gainza could not beat AC Milan and they came back to Bilbao empty-handed.
Twenty years later, the Special One Football Club Athletic Club would square off another big Italian side in the 1976/77 UEFA Europa League final. Athletic supporters enjoyed the journey as Koldo Aguirre’s players had defeated enormous clubs such as FC Basel, AC Milan, FC Barcelona and Molenbeek. However, Juventus took advantage of their second-leg away goal in San Mames to avoid the likely Athletic Club’s European joy.
On the team appeared Athletic iconic players such as Jose Angel Iribar, Vilar, Irureta, Dani and Txetxu Rojo. Trapattoni’s side showed slightly better than Athletic and they conquered their first European title.
Athletic Cub’s last opportunity to get redemption
It was in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League final when Athletic had their latest opportunity to finish as a top-1 team in an European competition. That season Athletic was coached by Marcelo Bielsa. The fans still remember the outstanding performances of the Basque side, especially the great exhibition at Old Trafford.
After a thrilling match up with Sporting Clube de Portugal they advance to the final in Bucarest to meet Atletico Madrid. The Basque ‘lions’ did not budge an inch but in the end they lost to Atletico 3-0.
Athletic Club’s philosophy does not offer many times to become champions of Europe but the Special One Football Club will never give up for sure and one day they will celebrate an European title on board their charming Gabarra.