Pablo de la Calle

Updated Wednesday, February 28, 2024-21:44

In the


he wanted to be


, but his


took the idea out of his head: "You don't have the height to be a goalkeeper, it's better that you play in another position."

The boy tried as a winger and center back with more will than level.

Xabier Clemente

soon assumed that he had not inherited his father's football talent.

The boy decided, with good judgment, that it was better to dedicate himself to books, but without forgetting the ball.

His thing was physical preparation and in that he is already a symbol of this Athletic that today seeks the final of the Copa del Rey.

The son of the emblematic coach is a valuable piece in

Ernesto Valverde

's technical organization chart .

He is the guide of the administration, the balm for wounded



Xabier (49 years old, graduate in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences) is integrated into the Rehabilitation area of ​​the San Mamés club.

His activity consists of working and recovering injured players

, those who do not travel and stay in Lezama.

An occupation that requires technical, medical and psychological knowledge.

Iñaki Williams




Raúl García




De Marcos

are very grateful.

Without him, their respective periods of absence would have been thornier.

«Xabier is calm, methodical and smarter than me.

"He never gets into trouble," says Javier Clemente, who answers the call from the journalist interested in discovering a guy who prefers to stay in the background.

«Xabier does not talk to the press, he does not look for problems.

Since he was little, he observed everything that I have gone through.

He is very good at a complicated job, to do what he does you have to have a good mood," says the coach who won the 1982-83 and 1983-84 Leagues with Athletic.

Xabier knows all the secrets of Lezama.

He grew up and was educated where his father was an idol.

He studied Chemistry, graduated from INEF, in Vitoria, and received a scholarship from the High Performance Center (CAR) in Fadura.

In July 2002 he joined the club as a physical trainer for cadets and juveniles.

Since then he has remained in Lezama, with only the hiatus of the 2010-11 season, when his father claimed him as Cameroon's physical trainer.


I took him with me because he needed someone he trusted and because he already had a lot of knowledge about physical preparation

," explains Javier Clemente, who failed to qualify Cameroon for the African Cup.

Xabier soon earned the respect of the players and coaches, who understood that he was not a pushover.

Luis de la Fuente

asked him as Bilbao Athletic's physical trainer in 2009. "I suppose that sometimes it has hurt him to be the son of who he is, but he has known how to follow his own path," emphasizes Aita



Since 2007, Xabier worked for the first team.

In that year he was in charge of the preparation of, among others,



Del Horno






Javi Martínez


He has been under the orders of coaches such as











Valverde, who after signing for Athletic took his own physical trainer,

José Antonio Pozanco

, maintains permanent contact with Xabier to find out the physical condition of his players.

In recent weeks he has worked intensely with

Nico Williams

so that today he comes out against Atlético de Madrid in full condition.

In the Rehabilitation department he shares a table with

Imanol Martín


«In Lezama you have to be there for the needs that arise, sometimes you take care of the youth team, other times the second team and other times the first team.

You have to adapt

, and Xabier does that well,” says Javi Clemente.

Xabier, who has two children and lives in Lejona, avoids the spotlight and notoriety, his public appearances are minimal, a couple of brief interviews on ETB and that's it.

A few years ago on Basque television he said that

he will always be a grateful son

: «My entire childhood has been related to football, watching


's training sessions .

Going to Lezama every weekend was sacred.

Bearing this last name is a source of pride.

That they recognize me for my


is a sign that he has done things well.

He has never taken away my enthusiasm for doing something, on the contrary, he has encouraged me to continue my path.

He also recognized that

he has known how to protect himself from the attacks generated by his father's inheritance.

From him: «It is true that criticism can affect the family environment.

In football there are people with many opinions, but they have never managed to get me off my nerves.

Xabier Clemente, the discreet son and readapter of