In the early morning of May 24, 2001, the driver of a Mercedes suffered an oversight and lost control of his vehicle in the Ronda de Dalt in Barcelona, at the height of Esplugues, he was thrown from the vehicle after several impacts with the protection fences on both sides and died on the spot, his body mutilated. Driver It was the charismatic Javier Urrutikoetxea, former goalkeeper of Real Sociedad, Espanyol and Barça, a club in which he retired and in which he left an indelible mark. Urruti not only He is one of the best in the history of Barça, he is also one of the most beloved, unforgettable for fans and teammates. As proof, generalized signs of pain of all Spanish football in the following days.
After participating in a golf tournament in the morning, Urruti had witnessed That day in Sitges, with some friends, the Champions League final between Bayern and Valencia, which the German team won on penalties, precisely one of the specialties that gave Urruti more relevance: stopped a decisive penalty to ‘Mágico’ González in Valladolid in the 84-85 League, an action that marked the achievement of that league title eleven years after the previous one. It is the penalty that caused Joaquim Maria Puyal to pronounce in full broadcast and spontaneously (it is what gives value to the phrase) the mythical “Urruti t’estimo”.
And without a doubt there is the memory of the batch of Penalties from the final in Seville, a year later, in May 1986: he stopped two of the four shots that needed to perform the Steaua Bucharest (the fifth was no longer necessary) a feat that did not serve to win the European Cup.
Urruti was in three World Cups but without actually playing, always in the national team the shadow of Arkonada, with whom he also met briefly at the Royal Society. Arkonada removed Urruti from the ownership in Real (after Artola’s departure to Barça) midway through the 1975-76 season. In his four and a half years at Espanyol he was always a starter, but after signing for Barça in 1981, he waited a year as a substitute of ‘Pello’ Artola before taking ownership. And, after the signing of Zubizarreta in 1986 he returned to the role of second goal. Y, Despite this, he kept his charisma and his status as an extraordinary teammate and locker room player.
Always attentive to fans
It is because of that charisma and leadership capacity that his colleagues most remember Urruti, a true locker room leader. Víctor Muñoz, for example, arrived at Barça in the same season as the Basque goalkeeper and recalls of him that “he was a very open guy with everyone, he did not have a ‘no’ for anyone, for any fan. They approached him and he always responded, always. He was always funny, happy, he was positive. When I arrive, was Pello as the starter and despite this, he always tried to harmonize the group. And in terms of football, what to say? He was in three World Cups and that means you’re good. “
Precisely in a World Cup coincided with Urruti Julio Salinas: “I was a kid, he was a veteran. Imposing, I saw you as a person with a lot of character, who was dealing with you. He was fun and positive, but I mostly had a lot of respect for him ”.
Paco Martínez, who coincided with Urruti at Barça for one season, has not forgotten him either and remembers, now that he has prescribed, a small sin: “We smoked from time to time some cigarette A very positive and funny guy, with a Basque profile. There we were, a man from Donostia and a man from Granada … perfect combination ”.
The emotion of ‘Tarzan’ Migueli
Still moved by the memory of Urruti, Migueli assures to Mundo Deportivo that “with Javi, as I called him, we were like brothers. He was my roommate when we were concentrating and he was always a splendid person. He lived football like nobody else, he was always warning you with that famous whistle. Impossible to forget him, I always have him in mind. Wherever I am a strong and excited I hug that piece of guy. “
The void left by Urruti
And the ‘Wolf’ Carrasco, in the splendor of his career in Urruti’s years at Barça, he explains that “I lived with him a lot, he brought joy to the team not only because of the porterazo that he was, but because of his open, cheerful nature … always the soul of the party.” The wolf’ it states that “left a void in me like when the ‘Brujo’ Quini or Ladislao Kubala marched. And I really mean it, I don’t like being a hypocrite and even less with death. Urruti was a great guy and so I say. In death I don’t like hypocrisy ”.
As a footballer, highlights that “he loved his profession And he was a benchmark for me since I started to coincide with him in the national team, with Kubala, before he signed for Barça. Kubala, who loved him madly, I always let him guardian to young people. And after training, he always stayed half an hour more for us to shoot him ”.
And an anecdote: “Urruti was from the north. And once we smoked to play in the European Cup in Germany, with a peeling cold. But really cold. All of us doing scrubs, or looking for gloves and pantyhose … Urruti arrived, began to laugh, served himself an almost boiling coffee … with equal parts cognac … and to play! ”.