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Javier Clemente Lázaro, (born 12 March 1950 in Barakaldomarker) is a Spanishmarker football manager. The veteran La Liga manager has spent most of his career at two clubs: Athletic Bilbao and RCD Espanyol. Between 1992 and 1998, he managed Spain and went 31 games unbeaten. His last job was failing to lead Serbia national football team through the qualification rounds for the UEFA Euro 2008. He became the first foreign manager of Serbia on 21 July 2006 when he signed a two year contract worth 720,000. He was released from his contract after failing to qualify for the European championship on 6 December 2007.

Club career

Athletic Bilbao

As a player, Clemente made 47 La Liga appearances for Athletic Bilbao and scored six goals between 1968 and 1971. He was also a member of the Athletic team that won the Copa del Generalísimo in 1969, but his playing career was cut short because of injury. Clemente served his apprenticeship as a coach with Arenas Club de Getxo, CD Baskonia and then Bilbao Athletic, before becoming manager of Athletic Bilbao for the first time in 1981.

La Liga Champions

Clemente soon set about putting together one of the most successful Athletic Bilbao teams in the club's history. Veterans Dani and Andoni Goikoetxea were joined by young players from the cantera, such as Santiago Urkiaga, Miguel de Andrés, Ismael Urtubi, Estanislao Argote and Andoni Zubizarreta. In 1983 the club won La Liga and in 1984 they won a La Liga/Copa del Rey double. His first spell in charge of Athletic is also remembered for a bitter rivalry that developed between Athletic and FC Barcelona. It began when César Luis Menotti, then manager at Barcelona, criticising the Clemente style as authoritarian and his team as defensive and destructive. Clemente in turn dismissed Menotti as an aging hippy and womaniser. The row intensified after a La Liga match at the Camp Noumarker on 24 September 1983 when Andoni Goikoetxea tackled Diego Maradona from behind, leaving Maradona severely injured. Goikoetxea, whose hardman image came to personify Clemente’s Athletic team, subsequently became known as the Butcher of Bilbao. On 5 July 1984, the two clubs met again in the Copa del Rey final and the game ended in a massive brawl between the two sets of players.

Return to Athletic

Clemente’s first spell as manager of Athletic Bilbao came to an end in 1986. However, he returned to manage the club on two further occasions in the 1990–91 and 2005–06 seasons. On both occasions, he failed to reproduce the success of his first spell and, despite helping Athletic avoid relegation in 2006, he was sacked after criticizing the club’s transfer policy.


After leaving Athletic Bilbao in 1986, Clemente was appointed manager of Espanyol. In first season in charge he guided the club to third in La Liga and qualification for the UEFA Cup. During the 1987–88 season, he guided Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final, beating both Milan and Internazionale on the way. In the final against Bayer Leverkusen, they won the home leg at the Sarriámarker 3–0. However, the return game saw Bayer also win 3–0 and the game went to penalties with Espanyol losing 3–2. Clemente ended his first spell in charge of Espanyol in 1989. After coaching Atlético Madrid to second place in La Liga during the 1989–90 season, he returned to Espanyol for the 1990–91 season. He returned to the club for a third time in 2002 and remained until 2003.

La Liga and Ligue 1

Clemente has also managed several other La Liga clubs and, during the 2000–01 season, he also had a spell in charge of Marseille. During the 1998–99 season, he managed Real Betis and became embroiled in more controversy when he spat at a fan and implied Andaluciamarker was another country. He has also managed Real Sociedad, Tenerife and Real Murcia.

International career


In 1992, Clemente was appointed manager of Spain. His first game in charge was a 1–0 victory over England on 9 September 1992. He was manager of Spain during both the 1994 and 1998 World Cups and during Euro 1996. Despite leading the team to a 31 game unbeaten run, he was criticised for choosing too many Basque players and for dropping Josep Guardiola. After 62 games in charge, he was sacked after a 3–2 defeat to Cyprus on 5 September 1998.


Clemente became manager of the Serbian national team on 21 July 2006, the post to which he was brought on initiative from FA president Zvezdan Terzić. According to Serbian press, Clemente's salary was 30,000 per month on a two-year contract worth €720,000 in total. Also, he was eligible for a €400,000 bonus had Serbia passed through the Euro 2008 qualifications, and an additional €150,000 bonus for every round passed at the final tournament. In an interview he gave to the Serbian daily newspaper Politika, Clemente claimed that €30,000 a month is the smallest salary he has earned in the last 20 years. He took Risto Vidaković and Simo Krunić as his assistants.

Taking over the team still reeling from the disastrous showing at the 2006 World Cup, Clemente made his debut as Serbian manager on 16 August 2006 with a 1–3 away victory in a friendly against Czech Republic. Following the separation of Montenegro, the match was the team's first under the name Serbia. New players introduced into the squad were Marko Pantelić, Danko Lazović, Vladimir Stojković, Aleksandar Trišović, etc. while previous mainstays such as Savo Milošević, Mateja Kežman, Predrag Đorđević, Albert Nađ, and Dragoslav Jevrić stopped getting call ups.

Euro 2008 qualifying started brightly with 3 fairly routine wins (at home versus Azerbaijan, Belgium, and Armenia) and a draw (away at Poland) from first four matches.

However, things started unraveling following the winter break with an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at Kazakhstan in late March 2007. In addition to losing the match against the minnows, frustrated striker Nikola Žigić elbowed a Kazakhstani player, getting a red card and one-match suspension. And though Serbia managed to earn a hard fought 1-1 draw against group favourites Portugal at home four days later, there were plenty of worrying signs. Subsequent matches brought more inconsistency: following a great 0-2 win away at Finland that raised hopes, came more setbacks - first a 3-2 loss away at Belgium due to careless defensive mistakes followed by a timid scoreless draw at home versus Finland in front of only 15,000 supporters as even the fans began to turn their back on the team. Though still with everything to play for, it looked increasingly obvious that in addition to being prone to slip ups against smaller sides, Clemente's team was also unable to display creative play and consistency required for getting results against better sides. Four days after the heartless display at home versus Finland, the away match at Portugal was essentially a must win for Serbia. However, instead it further exposed the team's deficiencies as they created very little offensively, finishing with a lucky 1-1 draw as Branislav Ivanović scored a tying goal two minutes from time on a broken play following rapid deflections in the penalty area. Away match at Armenia a month later that was an absolute must win brought another poor outing as desperate Serbia couldn't break down defensively minded Armenians who even turned to attack towards the end and were very unlucky not to come away with a win as demoralized and tired Serbia essentially stopped playing. All but out of the running for top two spots at this point, Clemente cited players' mental approach as the reason for poor results. Four days later, the same team destroyed Azerbaijan 1-6, but it was too little too late even though a small mathematical chance (two remaining wins plus favourable results in other matches) of reaching the second spot still existed.

In the end Serbia didn't manage to pass through the qualifying group. Following the failure to qualify and the heavy criticism by both the supporters and FA management, Javier Clemente was released from his contract on 6 December 2007.



Athletic Bilbao


Athletic Bilbao


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