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First Team

Getting to know: Andoni Iraola


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Andoni Iraola has been appointed as AFC Bournemouth head coach in June 2023, signing a two-year deal. 

Iraola arrives at Vitality Stadium following a successful spell at Spanish side Rayo Vallecano, where he received plaudits for his distinctive style of play.

Born in 1982, Iraola progressed through the ranks at Athletic Bilbao, where he established himself as a club legend. 

He made his debut in August 2003, instantly becoming a key player for the Basque Country side with 31 appearances in his debut season. 

Playing as a right-back, Iraola never made fewer than 30 league matches across his 12 seasons at the club, showing incredible consistency.

He's the fifth highest appearance maker in Bilbao history, turning out 510 times and scoring 38 goals.

It was at Bilbao where Iraola spent two seasons playing under revered manager Marcelo Bielsa, a spell which helped define his own philosophy.

Following a two-year period at New York City between 2015 and 2016, Iraola retired and began his management career. 

He was appointed manager of Cypriot club AEK Larnaca in June 2018, winning 12 of his 29 games in charge and leading the side to the Cypriot Super Cup title. 

In July 2019, Iraola was named at the helm of CD Mirandés, a newly promoted Sugunda División side. 

He secured a 11th position finish in his sole season in charge and taking the team to the semi-finals of the Spanish Cup for just the second time in their 92-year history, defeating three top division sides Celta de Vigo, Sevilla FC and Villarreal in the process. 

Iraola joined Rayo Vallecano in August 2020 and achieved promotion to La Liga in his debut season, winning the play-offs. 

With one of the smallest budgets in the division, Iraola led the club to a 12th position finish in La Liga, securing home and away victories over Barcelona in an impressive campaign. 

Despite minimal signings, Iraola repeated the feat in the 2022/23 season, spending much of the season competing for the European places. 

With his distinct style of football, Rayo defeated Barcelona and Real Madrid to finish in 11th.

Iraola received attention from clubs across Europe given his impressive feats and he was confirmed as Cherries head coach in June 2023.  

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