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Title: Zarra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: 1950 FIFA World Cup, Athletic Bilbao
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* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Template:Basque name

Telmo Zarraonandia Montoya (20 January 1921 – 23 February 2006), professionally known as Zarra (Basque: [ˈs̻ara], Spanish: [ˈθara]), was a Spanish Basque football forward. The majority of his career was spent at Athletic Bilbao from 1940 to 1955, for whom he remains the top scorer in competitive matches with 333 goals.

Signing with Athletic after playing one season for Erandio, he became a prolific goalscorer for Athletic in his 15 seasons at the club, winning The Pichichi Trophy for highest scorer in the league on six occasions. He scored more league goals (252)[1] than any other player in Spanish football history, and 81 goals in the Copa del Rey, which remains a record. He previously shared the record for most goals scored in a season: 38 times in 1950–51, beaten in the 2010–11 La Liga season by Cristiano Ronaldo with 40 and the 2011-2012 La Liga season by Lionel Messi with 50 goals.

Despite his goalscoring records, he only played for Spain twenty times. Even so, he still managed to score 20 goals, including four in one historic match when Spain beat Switzerland 6–3 on 18 February 1951. He also scored his country's winning goal against England in the 1950 World Cup finals as Spain reached the final four – their best performance in the competition until winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup 60 years later.

After leaving Bilbao in 1955, he played for one year with SD Indautxu and another with Barakaldo before retiring. He died of a heart attack on 24 February 2006, aged 85. The Zarra Trophy for the highest-scoring Spaniard in La Liga is awarded in his memory.

Early life

Zarraonanía was born on 20 January 1921 at the Asúa train station (Erandio, Biscay). He was the son of an engineer and the head of Asúa station, Telmo Zarraonandía and Tomasa Montoya. Zarraonandía was the seventh of ten children, five of them boys.

Childhood and first steps

When he was young, Zarraonandía used to play football with his neighbours. While other children had homemade or improvised balls, Zarraonandía had access to a real ball, as two of his brothers played football: Tomás, the oldest, who played in the Primera División with Arenas de Getxo and Domingo, died during the Spanish Civil War.

His father did not like that Zarraonandía played football, because "it was enough with two brothers in the practice of this game." But Zarraonandía liked the sport and began playing for several area teams, including Asúa and Pitoberese. At that time, he was nicknamed "Telmito the fearful", as he would play cautiously, being ashamed and self-conscious of his skill.

Zarraonandía signed his first professional contract with the S. D. Erandio of the Second Division, and was incorporated into the 1937–38 season. Later Zarraonandía was recruited to a team of players from Biscay to play a friendly match against a team assembled from Guipuzcoa, during which Zarraonandía was responsible for 7 of the 9 goals scored against the Guipuzcoan players.

Around this time, Athletic Bilbao was looking for players to rebuild the team, which had been disbanded years ago in the chaos caused by the Civil War. The team began recruiting young, promising players from Erandio for their team for the 1940–41 season.

Professional stage and early successes

Zarraonandía debuted with the Athletic Club on 29 September 1940, in a league match against Valencia CF The game concluded in a draw, with Zarraonandía scoring both goals for his team (including his first goal in the league, scored 17 minutes into the game).

During the 1941–42 season Zarraonandía temporarily left Athletic Bilbao to join the army. He was dispatched to Ceuta, and played some friendly matches with the team there. Upon his return to Athletic Bilbao, Zarraonandía experienced one of the biggest disappointments of his career while playing in the final of the Copa del Rey (King's Cup) against FC Barcelona. They had reached the end of regulation time and neither team had managed to score. During the extra time to determine the winner, Zarraonandía had an opportunity to score against rival goalkeeper Miró, but he missed the shot; consequently, FC Barcelona won the match and Cup.

The 1942–43 campaign was one of the most important for both Zarraonandía and Athletic Bilbao. Athletic reached the Copa del Rey final after having defeated teams like Atlético Madrid and FC Valencia. There they hoped to defeat Real Madrid and this time, Zarraonandía was able to redeem himself from the previous year's missed goal against FC Barcelona by scoring the only goal in the final against Real Madrid, winning Athletic Bilbao the year's cup and title.

Zarraonandía's first serious injury occurred in the 1943–44 season in a match against FC Barcelona. He broke his clavicle and was unable to play for a while. Once recovered, Zarraonandía was able to return to the pitch and celebrate with a Copa del Rey title, defeating FC Valencia with a final score of 2–0.

In the 1944–45 season, while Athletic Bilbao was facing FC Valencia in the Copa del Rey final, 86 minutes after the game began, a player from Valencia fell to the ground. Zarraonandía made a move to trample the fallen player, as a joke, and he was expelled from the game by the referee. This expulsion was the first and only suffered throughout his career. Despite the expulsion, Athletic Bilbao took the title that year thanks to a goal by Copero Iriondo that made the score 3–2 in favor of Athletic Bilbao.


Zarraonandía experienced the best moments of his career in the 1944–45 season with his first Pichichi Trophy marking 20 goals scored in 26 matches. Zarra would go on to win this award on five other occasions (1946, 1947, 1950, 1951 and 1953).

On 11 March 1945, Zarraonandía was selected by the Spanish coach Jacinto Quincoces to join the Spanish national team for a friendly match against Portugal in Lisbon. On 6 May of that year he played against Portugal again, and scored two of the four goals that gave victory to his team.

On 28 May 1950, Zarraonandía again played in a Copa del Rey final, this time against Real Valladolid after FC Valencia was disbanded. During the semi-final game, Zarraonandía scored four of the goals that won the game for his team. He opened the scoring at 14 minutes, but by end of regulation time the match was drawn. During extra time, Zarraonandía scored a hat trick as Bilbao won the cup. With his four goals against Real Valladolid, Zarraonandía holds the record for highest number of goals made in a Cup final.

Once qualified, the Spanish team played matches against the United States, Chile, and England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup. He scored one of the goals in a 2–0 win over Chile in the second match. Zarra referred to the third game, against England, as "the game of the century." Zarra's goal past the English goalkeeper Bert Williams won the match and sent Spain through at the expense of England. This goal, the most famous scored by Zarra, gave the victory to the Spanish team in their first World Cup semi-finals.

In the 1950–51 season Zarraonandía was able to beat one of his greatest records by scoring 38 goals in 30 league games. This record was also achieved by the Mexican Hugo Sánchez, who scored his 38 goals over the course of 38 matches.

During the 1951–52 season Zarraonandía suffered his most serious injury of his career, on 25 November 1951 in a game against Atlético Madrid, when the opposing goalkeeper fell on Zarraonandía's leg. An operation was required for full recovery, which kept him out for the rest of the season. On his return in the 1952–53 season, he played 29 games and scored on 25 occasions, giving a scoring average of 0.86 from both seasons.

Last years and retirement

On 19 April 1954, Zarraonandía received a tribute in Madrid in recognition of his long career in Spanish football. This event was attended by several VIPs from the world of football, including Alfredo Di Stéfano, Antonio Puchades, Estanislao Basora, Piru Gainza, Eduardo Manchon, and Cesar Lesmes.

Zarraonandía was nearing the end of this career and watched as young, promising Athletic players took over his role on the team, including a young player named Eneko Arieta, who would become his successor.

Zarraonandía ended his career with Athletic Bilbao at the conclusion of the 1954–55 season. From then on he devoted himself to playing for several teams in the Second Division and Sports Society until he officially left football in 1957. Despite officially retiring from the sport, he continued playing football with the veteran players of Biscay, donating the money collected from these games to charities.


International goals

Scores and results list Spain's goal tally first.
Club performance League Cup Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Spain League Copa del Rey Total
1939–40 Erandio Segunda División - - - - - -
1940–41 Athletic Bilbao Primera División 8 6 0 0 8 6
1941–42 20 15 8 11 28 26
1942–43 17 17 8 8 25 25
1943–44 21 12 10 10 31 22
1944–45 26 20 9 14 35 34
1945–46 18 24 2 0 20 24
1946–47 24 33 6 3 30 36
1947–48 16 9 0 0 16 9
1948–49 26 22 10 9 36 31
1949–50 26 24 7 13 33 37
1950–51 30 38 6 8 36 46
1951–52 5 3 0 0 5 3
1952–53 29 24 7 5 36 29
1953–54 5 2 1 0 6 2
1954–55 6 2 0 0 6 2
1955–56 Indautxu Segunda División - - - - - -
1956–57 Barakaldo Segunda División - - - - - -
Career total 278 252 74 81 351 332



Athletic Bilbao


  • Pichichi Trophy: 1944–45, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1949–50, 1950–51, 1952–53
  • Golden Pichichi Trophy: 2003.


Posthumous dedications


  • Top scorer in the history of La Liga (251 goals)
  • Top scorer in the history of the Copa del Rey (81 goals)
  • Top scorer in the history of Athletic Club (333 goals)
  • Most Pichichi trophies (6)
  • Most goals in a Copa del Rey Final (4)


External links

  • Player profile at Athletic's website
  • La Liga stats (Spanish)
  • National team data (Spanish)

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