Javier Clemente Biography

Sat 31 July 2021 | 16:30

He is known as one of the best coaches of Spanish football in the 1980s when he was in charge of Athletic Bilbao. In this article, we will take a look at Javier Clemente biography.

Javier Clemente, born 12 March 1950 in Barakaldo, is a Spanish former football player and football coach who is currently serving as the head coach of the Libya national team. He began his professional playing career with the Athletic Bilbao team in 1968, making 47 league appearances until 1973. However, due to an injury, he had to retire from playing football after playing for a season with the Athletic Bilbao B team in 1974.

A year later, Javier Clemente started his coaching career by signing for Arenas Getxo. His greatest coaching achievements came in the 1980s, during which he won the Spanish league title twice with Athletic Bilbao and led RCD Espanyol to the UEFA Cup final. He was the manager of the Spanish national team from 1992 to 1998, which he coached in 62 matches, with 36 victories, 20 draws and 6 defeats. With the national team, he reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup and the European Championship.

Since he departed from the national team, he has been struggling to match the successes of the 1980s; several of the clubs he has managed have already fired him during the season, while four of them (CD Tenerife, Real Murcia, Real Valladolid and Sporting Gijón) have been relegated to the Segunda División. He also failed to make the Euro 2008 qualifiers with the Serbian national team and was unable to make the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations with the Cameroon national team.

All You Need to Know About Javier Clemente Biography

Since his departure from Cameroon national team, he had some other spells with Sporting Gijón and


before signing for the Basque Country. Right now, he is the head coach of the Libya national team for the second time in his coaching career.

Javier Clemente Information

Now that we know him better, in this section of

Javier Clemente biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Javier Clemente nationality

to let you know him even more.

Javier Clemente Bio

  • Full Name: Javier Clemente Lázaro

  • Nickname: El Rubio de Barakaldo

  • Profession: Professional Football Coach

Javier Clemente Physical Stats

  • Weight: 70 Kg

  • Height: 1.71 m

  • Eye Color: Brown

  • Hair Color: Blonde

Javier Clemente Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 6

  • Professional Debut:

Javier Clemente Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 12 March 1950

  • Birth Place: Barakaldo, Spain

  • Zodiac Sign: Pisces

  • Nationality: Spanish

In this section of

Javier Clemente biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about

Javier Clemente childhood

and more.

Javier Clemente Early Life

Javier Clemente started playing football in the courtyard in front of his house, where his mother lived for 54 years. Later he moved to the area where the school, La Salle, was. This was where he started to play and where his class and self-confidence began to shine through.

Very soon he went to the Barakaldo youth team before joining the Athletic youth team at the age of 16, signed by Gainza and Ipiña. That was also where he had to learn that fighting spirit that has been his hallmark for his whole football career.

Javier Clemente could have been a great player; maybe it is not an exaggeration to say that he could have been the great figure of the dull national football of those days. However, a leg fracture that recurred with desperate frequency put an end to his dreams. He had to retire very early from playing football due to that injury.

Clemente was a youth player of brilliant beginnings. He began his career at Baracaldo, and his excellent quality led him to Athletic's youth teams and to the Spanish national team in this category. During the 1968-69 season, Athletic brought him into their first team, even though he was still a youth player, and he quickly became a first-team regular.

He was a small, skilful left-sided midfielder with great passing accuracy, a constant presence in the game and superb organisational skills. In November '69, a tackle from behind by an opponent took his left leg, and that was the end of it.

"It was Marañón, a Sabadell player, who I don't blame for anything. It was a very hard tackle, but there are many like it. The game was very tense, and we were all a little bit angry. There was a minute to go when I was controlling a ball and he came in behind me and broke my leg." recalls Javier Clemente.

He broke his tibia and fibula. Unfortunately, the tibia fracture, a vertical splinter, was not visible on X-rays. He got a cast and the fibula was reattached and returned to play. But the tibia fracture was still there, it caused him discomfort when he ran, it began to increase and one day, in a match against Atlético de Madrid, he eventually broke his leg: "There was no need for a blow. All it took was a slap to crack it, and it cracked".

He had to cast it again, the tibia was also welded but there was a problem: in both welds, the bones, as always happens, widened somewhat; a knot was formed, so to speak, in the place of the fissure. After twenty-two league games, he received a blow in Zaragoza that brought those two knots into contact: "I thought they had broken my leg again because it hurt so much". He underwent surgery, was given rest, and the pain went away; but every time he pushed himself a little in training, the pain returned.

Then came the time for military service. The army boot, with a high upper that put pressure just at the level of his damaged area, gave him new pain and discomfort. He underwent surgery in Pamplona, a bar was placed inside the tibia and it seemed to improve. He was back in training but was still in discomfort. Moreover, he was putting too much weight on the fibula because he was stepping too hard, and the fibula broke.

He had another operation and cast: "I saw Dr Cañadel, the doctor who had operated on me in Pamplona, very discouraged. He advised me to give up football. But I didn't want to do it and I went to Lyon to be operated on by Dr Trillat, an outstanding doctor. He left me well, but he told me that there was a problem: my leg could go on twisting until it broke. I went back to training, played a few matches with Bilbao Athletic, in the third division, to try it out, and, in fact, it ended up breaking again".

Tribute and farewell

That was the end of it. Clemente returned to Lyon for another operation, a rod with eight screws was fitted and he was given new hope. But Athletic decided not to renew him anymore. No one believed that he would be able to continue playing. A testimonial was organised for him against Borussia Moenchengladbach and he then left the club.

Javier Clemente Profile

After his retirement, Clemente started to coach Arenas Club, with whom he won promotion to the Third Division in the 1975-76 season. He then coached C. D. Basconia (1976-78) and Bilbao Athletic (1979-81). The following season, he took charge of the Athletic Club.

In this section of

Javier Clemente biography

stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching career at

Athletic Bilbao


Athletic Club

Clemente's Athletic was one of the strongest and most successful in the club's history. He put veterans Goikoetxea and Dani alongside some youngsters previously trained in the B team, notably Zubizarreta. During his second year on the bench, he won the

La Liga

, which the club had not won for 27 years. The third-year on the bench he even managed a double (La Liga and Copa del Rey).

His first few years as Athletic's coach are also known for the rivalry that arose with Barcelona as a result of the conflict with the coach at the time, César Luis Menotti, who was critical of Clemente's team's play. The whole thing was amplified by the La Liga match at the Camp Nou when Goikoetxea made a serious foul on Maradona forcing him to be substituted. When both teams faced each other again for the 1984 Copa del Rey final (won by Athletic 1-0) a fight broke out between the players on the field.

One other incident in which Clemente was at the centre of controversy happened to coincide with his dismissal. His decision to constantly use his most outstanding player, Manuel Sarabia, as a substitute caused a series of controversies that convinced him to take him out of the team.

Between 19 and 31 January 1986 the fans were split between clementistas and sarabistas, which created a major controversy that challenged the board. However, after 12 days, president Pedro Aurtenetxe made the decision to relieve him of his duties and reinstate the striker in the team, regardless of his friendship with the coach.

The experience of Clemente in Bilbao ended with a clearly positive balance, because of his ambition and self-confidence, which brought a series of unprecedented successes; nevertheless, the conflicting relationship with the top players and the intolerance to any attack on his authority led him to prematurely end his experience in Bilbao.

Javier Clemente managed Athletic Bilbao in a total of 213 matches between 1981 and 1986, where he won 117, drawn 44 and lost 52 matches, earning a win ratio of 54.93 percent, which was a great feat for him as a manager.


He was appointed manager of


in 1986, where he remained for three seasons. During his first season at Espanyol, he finished third and qualified for a place in the UEFA Cup. In the following season, he guided the team to the final, defeating the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan.

In the double final, he faced the German club Bayer Leverkusen, which he beat 3-0 at home, but was beaten 3-0 in the return leg. The game was ended on penalties and Espanyol lost 3-2. The first adventure of Clemente at Espanyol ended in 1989.

During his time with Espanyol between 1986 and 1989, Javier Clemente coached the team in a total of 124 matches in all competitions and had a win ratio of 33.06 percent with 41 wins, 27 draws and 56 defeats in those games.

Atlético Madrid

During the 1989-90 season Clemente was signed by Club Atlético de Madrid although his tenure at the Manzanares club lasted only 240 days. He was dismissed by Jesús Gil on 27 February 1990, although the team was in second place at the table. The reasons given by the Atlético president were that "the objective was to win something. It had gone badly and, therefore, we had to change".

In total, he coaches Atletico Madrid in 32 matches during that season in all competitions and achieved a 46.88 win ratio with 15 wins, 8 draws and 9 defeats which was much better than his record at Espanyol.

Second spell at Athletic Club

Following his brief spell at Atlético de Madrid, Clemente was back at Athletic Club in June 1990. He had signed a contract for one season, which can be extended depending on results, however, he was relieved of his job on the 26th matchday because of the team's poor performances in that season. Clemente became Athletic Club's most-capped coach in this second stint, surpassing Juan Urquizu's 235 matches.

In his second tenure in Athletic Club, which lasted less than a season, he managed the team in a total of 31 matches, and with 11 wins, 3 draws and 17 defeats had a win ratio of 35.48 percent.

Return to Espanyol

During the 1991-92 season, Espanyol recruited him again to try to save the team from relegation. Clemente coached the


based club in the last twenty league games, winning ten and drawing four to secure relegation. The club offered him to continue as their coach but, in June 1992, the Spanish Football Federation offered him the chance to coach the Spanish national team and he accepted the offer.

Javier Clemente had a win ratio of 45.45 percent with 10 wins, 4 draws and 8 defeats in a total of 22 matches in all competitions during his return to Espanyol. In this section of Javier Clemente biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his Spanish national team coaching career.

Spain national team

Clemente was Spain's national team head coach from 1992 to 1998. In his first match, he played a friendly against England at the Campos de Sport de El Sardinero in Santander, which finished with a 1-0 win for


. During his first years in charge, a controversial change in the backbone of the national team took place: following Clemente's decision, players from Johan Cruyff's F. C. Barcelona team replaced the La Quinta del Buitre players of

Real Madrid

as the key members of the team.

Under his leadership, the Spanish national team qualified for the 1994

World Cup

, Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup. Spain lost in the quarter-finals of the first two competitions to Italy and England, respectively. The 1998 World Cup saw them knocked out of the competition at the group stage. Spain lost to Cyprus by three goals to two in the first qualifying match for Euro 2000 on 5 September 1998 and Clemente was dismissed from his post.

Clemente was in charge of the Spanish team for sixty-two matches, in which he managed thirty-six wins, twenty draws and six defeats. He went on an unbeaten run of thirty-one matches between 7 September 1994 and 28 January 1998. It was the best record of any Spanish coach at the time, although his results were later improved by Luis Aragones and Vicente del Bosque. During his time at the helm of the national team, he had constant clashes with the media, especially those of the PRISA Group.

Real Betis

During the 1998-99 season, Javier Clemente was in charge of Real Betis, and became the fourth coach of the Sevillian team in three months, following Luis Aragonés, António Oliveira and Vicente Cantatore. He started his work with Betis on matchday 7, when the club was at the bottom of the table, and eventually left them in 11th position at the end of the season.

That season, Javier Clemente managed the Betis team in 36 matches in all competitions and achieved a 41.67 percent win ratio with 15 wins, 15 draws and 6 defeats.

Real Sociedad

On the 9th Matchday of the 1999-2000 season, he was signed by Real Sociedad to take over from the dismissed Bernd Krauss. At the time, the San Sebastian club was in 17th place. The club finished the league thirteenth and Clemente was reinstated for the following season, in which he was sacked on the 6th matchday, with the team in the relegation places after one win, two draws and three defeats.

At Real Sociedad his average win ratio declined sharply and was 27.03 percent with 10 wins, 13 draws and 14 defeats in a total of 37 matches over two seasons, however, his second season ended prematurely.

Olympique de Marseille

Afterwards, while his priority was to coach a Spanish club, Spanish Football Federation regulations did not allow him to do so, and he was thus forced to seek a job in the French league. He coached Olympique de Marseille for thirteen matches between November 2000 and April 2001. In his first match as coach in France, Clemente won against A. S. Saint-Étienne, but he failed to finish the season, leaving the team in 13th place on the 30th matchday of the French Ligue 1.

During his stay in France he failed to improve his win ratio over the last season and with 8 wins, 5 draws and 14 defeats he had a 29.63 percent win ratio in a total of 27 matches.


He was hired by Spanish club C. D.


on the 26th matchday of the 2001-02 season to try and save the team from relegation when they were bottom of the Primera Division. In his first match on the Tenerife bench, the team managed to clinch a 3-1 home win against Osasuna on 24 February 2002. Clemente, in total, won four games, drew two and lost six, and the team finished second to last, thus dropping down to the lower division.

Return to Espanyol

During the 2002-03 season, following matchday 14, he was appointed for the third time by R. C. D. Espanyol to try and save the team, which was second to last in La Liga table, five points from relegation. Clemente became the third coach of the Espanyol team so far that season, after Juande Ramos and Ramón Moya.

Having won seven, drawn twelve and lost five, the team finished 17th, seven points above relegation, and as a result, Clemente's contract was renewed. Clemente was sacked on matchday 10 of the 2003-04 season because of the team's poor form, leaving Espanyol bottom of the Primera División. As part of his farewell speech, Clemente was critical of the sale of some important players, in particular Roger García.

During his third spell at Espanyol, he had one of the worst records of his career and had a win ratio of just 25.71 percent with 9 wins, 14 draws and 12 defeats in a total of 35 matches.

Third Spell with Athletic Club

Following almost two years away from coaching, in 2005 he joined Athletic Club to take over from José Luis Mendilibar. At the time of his appointment, the club was at the bottom of the table in round 10 of the season. Clemente was able to save the team, which finished the season in 12th place, six points from relegation.

Clemente was chosen to take charge of the new project the following year but was fired before the start of the competition because he criticised the transfer policy of Fernando Lamikiz's management. Clemente had requested a series of signings that included Gorka Iraizoz, Raúl García, Iñaki Muñoz, Josu Sarriegi and Igor Gabilondo; nevertheless, the club's only additions that summer were Gabilondo, Sarriegi and the then C. A.


youth player Javi Martínez.

Clemente stated that rather than what he had asked for, they had brought him a "little boy" he did not know, explaining that it was "like if you ask for bread and they bring you nocilla". Following his departure from the club, the coach declared that "Lamikiz has sold me out".

Serbian national team

Clemente was appointed coach of the Serbian national football team on 21 July 2006. He came to the Balkan country at the invitation of the president of the Serbian Football Association, Zvezdan Terzić. He debuted on 16 August against the Czech Republic and rejuvenated an ageing team, introducing new talents such as Milan Smiljanić. Whilst they maintained their chances until the very last match, the team was unable to qualify for Euro 2008, being overtaken in the qualifying round by Poland and Portugal.

He suffered a domestic accident at his home in Bilbao in September 2007 that prevented him from flying to Belgrade, so he travelled 2320 kilometres by car to coach the team. When he arrived, he received a hero's welcome from hundreds of fans and the Serbian Minister of Sport. On 6 December 2007, Javier Clemente was sacked, having coached


for sixteen matches, winning seven, drawing seven and losing two of them.

Cameroon national team

He was named


coach on 17 August 2010, taking over from Paul Le Guen, who stepped down after losing every match in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup. In the qualifying campaign for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the Indomitable Lions recorded three wins, two draws and one defeat to miss out on the finals of the competition. Consequently, on 24 October 2011, Clemente was fired from the job.

Real Sporting de Gijón

Clemente was appointed as the new coach of Real Sporting de Gijón on 13 February 2012, stepping in for Iñaki Tejada, when the team was six points away from survival in the league. Clemente played his 500th match as a Primera División coach on 17 March in a 2-1 defeat against Granada C. F. at the Nuevo Los Cármenes stadium. Overall, he was in charge of Sporting for sixteen matches, winning five, drawing three and losing eight of them.

These numbers, despite having allowed the team to make it to the last matchday of the league with a chance of survival, did not stop the red and white team from being relegated to the Second Division following defeat in the last match against Málaga C. F. at La Rosaleda. At the end of the season and upon the expiry of his contract, it was announced that he would not remain at the helm of

Sporting Gijon


Libyan national team

An agreement to coach the Libyan national team was made official on 24 September 2013. Following four months in charge, he successfully led the African team to win the 2014 African Nations Championship, which marked the first international title for the Libyan federation.

After a 4-0 defeat against the Democratic Republic of Congo on 9 October 2016, he was fired from his position as Libya's coach.

Basque national team

He took charge of the Basque national team in March 2019. During two years in charge of the team, they only played two matches, winning one and drawing the other.

Return to Libyan national team

Libya reappointed Javier Clemente as their national team head coach on 25 May 2021, being his second spell in charge of the African national team. In this section of Javier Clemente biography stay tuned as we want to share some information about his coaching style.

Style of Play

During his first spell at Athletic Bilbao in the 80s, which happened to be the most successful spell in his coaching career, Javier Clemente almost used the 4-3-3 system in all matches. In his system, the opposing team is literally bombarded by direct play.

Repeatedly attacking with long balls, the midfielders become players with a lot of play without the ball, often getting into dangerous positions. However, this often put the team in danger of splitting in two, but this is where the central midfielder and one of the midfielders came into play to provide the necessary balance.


Although he had to retire from playing football early in his career, however, he soon managed to establish himself as one of the best head coaches in the country. Undoubtedly, according to many football experts and fans, during the 1980s, Javier Clemente was by far the best coach in Spain.

Javier Clemente outside Football

While he is in the latter stages of his coaching career and many were surprised by the fact that he accepted the Libyan national team job, but during his time with the Basque country team he almost spent all of his spare time with his friends and family, attending parties according to himself and enjoying his 70s life.

Javier Clemente Personal Life

In this section of Javier Clemente biography, we will take a look into his personal life and share some info about

Javier Clemente life story


Javier Clemente



Family, Children and Relationships

After retiring from playing football, Javier Clemente and his wife, María Auxiliadora Pérez married each other and in a few years, they had already two children, Xabier and Silvia. His son, Xabi has been a physical trainer for the Atlético Madrid since 2007.


At the time of writing this article, there are no reports of any charitable and philanthropy activities by Javier Clemente.

Legal Issues

In 1987, Barcelona Court of First Instance number 1 ordered COPE broadcaster Luis del Olmo and his collaborator Jesús Mariñas to pay two million pesetas in compensation to RCD Español coach Javier Clemente for a radio broadcast in January 1986, in which the two broadcasters said that the problems between the Basque coach, then at Athlétic de Bilbao, and the player Manuel Sarabia of the same team were due to a "flirtation".

The lawsuit for civil protection for alleged unlawful interference with honour was filed by the coach Javier Clemente and his wife, María Auxiliadora Pérez, following a conversation held by the two journalists on the morning programme Protagonistas, directed by Del Olmo himself. In the ruling, Judge Julio Ramón López described the conversation as something that "hardly exceeds the qualification of neighbourhood gossip", and therefore doubted that it was an offence to honour that deserved compensation of 25 million pesetas, as requested in the lawsuit filed by Javier Clemente and his wife.

Javier Clemente Career Statistics

In this section of Javier Clemente biography, we will take a look at his career stats on the international and club level.


Because of a broken leg, Javier Clemente had to retire very early in his playing career, having played only 54 matches and scoring 6 goals for Athletic Bilbao and the reserves team.


Between 1968 and 1970, the young Javier Clemente was a part of Spain national youth teams and actually played a total of four matches for Spain U18 and U23s, scoring one goal.


Javier Clemente has an average win ratio of 41.29 percent with 396 wins, 232 draws and 331 defeats in a total of 959 matches he has coached as of 14 June 2021.

Javier Clemente Honors

Clemente’s only achievement as a player was the

Copa del Rey

win in 1969 with Athletic Bilbao.

As a manager, Clemente has won La Liga, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España with Bilbao and the 2014 African Nations Championship with Libya.

He has also won the Best La Liga Manager award three times in the 1980s.

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source: SportMob