Who Is Andoni Iraola? The Giant Killing Spanish Coach Who Has Been Linked With The Celtic Manager’s Job

Who Is Andoni Iraola? The Giant Killing Spanish Coach Who Has Been Linked With The Celtic Manager’s Job

Ex-Rayo Vallecano head coach Andoni Iraola is expected to apply for the position of Celtic manager, according to the Scottish Daily Mail reporter Stephen McGowan.

The Spaniard is the latest name to be mentioned as a potential successor for Ange Postecoglou, so what do we know about him?

He was a well regarded player before becoming a coach

Iraola spent the vast majority of his career at Athletic Bilbao. Having been born in the Basque region, he made his way through the youth ranks before making his first-team debut in 2003.

The right-back played for Athletic for well over a decade, playing 500 times, until he made the switch to New York City in 2015. He spent two seasons in the MLS before he retired.

Iraola’s first managerial job was in Cyprus

AEK Larnaca was his first managerial appointment but, it is fair to say, things didn’t go to plan. He started well enough, winning the Cypriot Super Cup.

However, Iraola was sacked within six months of being hired, having gone two months without a win.

Success after returning to Spain

After his chastening experience in Cyprus, Iraola returned to his homeland where he took charge of second division side Mirandes.

During his one season in charge, he led his team to the Copa Del Rey semi-finals, beating the likes of Villarreal, Sevilla and Celta Vigo along the way. Despite the success, he decided to leave at the end of his contract.

Iraola’s impressive stint in charge of Mirandes did, however, lead to his next appointment at Rayo Vallecano. He managed to get his team promoted to La Liga in his first year.

The 40-year-old then kept his team up, as well as making it to the Copa Del Rey semi-finals once again, in his second campaign. He subsequently left Rayo after helping his team retain their top-flight status for the second successive year, having beaten both Barcelona and Real Madrid in the league as they finished 11th.

David Tully

David Tully

David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World's Football News Network.