Raimundo Pérez Lezama, Lezama, has passed away at the age of 84.
Lezama was one of the best goalkeepers in Athletic, he started off an extraordinary saga in club history which was carried on by Carmelo and Iribar, and is one of the club’s most triumphant players, just as the records shows: two league championships (1942-43 and 1955-56), six copas (1943, 1944, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1956) and the Zamora Trophy for being the goalkeeper with the least number of goals scored against him (1946-47).
Lezama, a refugee child during the war, learnt to play football in England, the country which was his home during his exile, where he played in First Division wearing Southampton’s red-white colours.
Upon his return from England he played for one season with Arenas, the Getxo team, and in 1941 joined Athletic, ‘his biggest dream’. He played for Athletic for 16 seasons, from the 1941-42 season to the 1956-57 season.
Lezama brought a breath of fresh air to the red-white goalposts by bringing to Bilbao all he had learnt in the English Championship. Just as he himself had said in a recent interview, he was the first to play using his feet, to throw-in with his hands, to leave the goal area or to put the ball into motion on the rise. Therefore, he was not the typical player the public at San Mamés were used to, however, he was one of the public’s favourite players.
Capable of playing well and playing badly during the 261 official matches played for Athletic, these famous moments were known as ‘Lezamadas’ and, the highlight of his career at the club was the 1943 Copa final, an encounter in which his performance led to the red-whites triumphing.
Carmelo Cedrún’s substitute in the latter part of his career with Athletic, and after having left the red-white club he continued playing and enjoying football in Indautxu, Sestao and Arenas, where he finally hung up his boots..
Our organization would like to express our most heartfelt sympathies to his family. May he rest in peace.