It did not come easy, but their fifth league title finally arrived. It took Athletic Club Women’s team a whole 9 years, including a few cup upsets, to be crowned First Division champions again. On June 4, but in 2016, the Red and Whites secured their title after a 3-0 home win against Oviedo Moderno in their second-to-last league match. The lionesses had to wait for the outcome of the game between Atlético de Madrid and FC Barcelona on the following day to celebrate their success, so they decided to meet at the club’s facilities to watch the encounter and they suffered until the game was over. The Catalan team lost and Joseba Aguirre’s side were able to sing the “txapeldunak, txapeldunak” song at last.
The title was celebrated in Lezama first and, two days later, in Bilbao, including a visit to the Basilica of Begoña, the City Hall and the Bizkaia Delegation Palace. This is how lionesses put the finishing touch to a magical season in which they were crowned champions and it was then that Athletic became the most awarded national female team, having won five league titles (2002-2003, 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2006-2007 and 2015-2016).
Joseba Aguirre could not have made a better debut as a manager of the first squad. But he was not the only one who came, saw and conquered; Ainhoa Moraza did so too. The now international player had just been transferred from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2015. Moraza, Maddi Torre, Maite Oroz, Damaris Egurrola and Leia Zarate had made their debut for the first team in that very campaign. Yulema Corres and Maite Oroz had appeared in each and every game (that was 30 fixtures in the league and one in the Copa de La Reina) while Ainhoa Tirapu had played every single minute that season.
Special mention should be made of Eli Ibarra, who was picking up her fifth trophy, making history with Athletic Club (she is still the only red-and-white footballer to have won five league titles). 2016 was also a year of farewells; Amaia Olabarrieta -who was forced to leave because of an injury-, Saioa González and Irene Paredes said goodbye that year. The side ended the season at the top of the table with 78 points and an outstanding record of 25 wins, three draws and only two losses (the last of them in the last league match, played in Tenerife, once the Red and Whites had already been proclaimed champions). Almost a decade after their first league competitions, the lionesses made use of their claws once more to claim a place in women’s football history.