Urzaiz in 2007
|Full name||Ismael Urzaiz Aranda|
|Date of birth||7 October 1971|
|Place of birth||Tudela, Spain|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Centre forward|
|1989-1993||Real Madrid B||50||(13)|
|1991-1992||-> Albacete (loan)||11||(1)|
|1993||-> Celta (loan)||6||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Best known for his physical strength and aerial ability, the unsuccessful youth graduate at Real Madrid went on to represent seven other teams during his extensive professional career, mainly Athletic Bilbao where he spent 11 years. Over 16 seasons, he amassed La Liga totals of 445 matches and 131 goals (61 headers, record of the competition).
Born in Tudela, Navarre, Urzaiz began his professional career at Real Madrid's B-side, joining the youth system from local CD Tudelano in 1985 and making his debut in Segunda División four years later. Despite being a successful youth international, he did not make any La Liga appearances for the first team (however, he did play one game against Odense BK, in the 1990-91 European Cup).
Urzaiz spent the 1991-92 season on loan at Albacete Balompié, making his top flight debut when he came on as a substitute against Athletic Bilbao in October 1991. In early 1993, he was loaned to Celta de Vigo also in the top flight, appearing rarely and scoring only once.
Urzaiz left Real Madrid permanently in 1993 and during the following three seasons played for Rayo Vallecano, UD Salamanca and RCD Espanyol - with a very modest scoring rate in the first two. He helped Salamanca win promotion to the top level in 1995, scoring twice as they beat Albacete 5-0 in the play-offs.
The following campaign, Urzaiz joined Espanyol for 35 million pesetas and exploded as a first-rate attacking player, netting 13 top division goals for a side that eventually finished fourth, including a hat-trick against former club Rayo Vallecano for a 4-2 home success on 14 April 1996.
The form of a revived Urzaiz attracted interest and in the summer of 1996 he joined Athletic Bilbao for a 500 million pesetas fee, being eligible for the all-Basque team having been born in Navarre. In 11 seasons, he scored 115 goals in 367 league appearances; in 1997-98 his eight successful strikes in 32 matches helped to a runner-up finish, which led to direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League, where he netted once in seven games.
Urzaiz scored in double figures in six of his campaigns at the San Mamés Stadium, but the emergence of youth graduate Fernando Llorente (1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)) prompted his exit from the club in July 2007; he still featured in 35 competitive games in his final year, coincidentally also his age by its end, but only completed the 90 minutes in six of them.
On 19 July 2007, Urzaiz signed a one-year contract with AFC Ajax, joining fellow Spaniards Gabri and Albert Luque. He made his official debut on 15 August, in the Champions League qualifier against Slavia Prague (0-1 home loss, 18 minutes played).
Urzaiz represented Spain at the 1988 UEFA European Under-16 Championship in Denmark, helping his country win tournament. He also scored four goals for the under-20 team at the 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship, held in Portugal.
On 10 October 1996, Urzaiz made his debut for the senior side, a 0-0 away draw with the Czech Republic for the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Over the next three years he made only three more appearances and failed to score, but emerged as the hero as Spain qualified for UEFA Euro 2000, netting six times in three games - this included two against Austria and a hat-trick against Cyprus. After a further two in a friendly with Poland, he was subsequently picked for the final stages in Belgium and the Netherlands.
After 25 caps and eight goals, Urzaiz made his last international appearance in a 0-3 friendly loss against England, in Birmingham in 2001. Between 1997 and 2005 he also played seven times for the Basque Country representative team, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Morocco in 2000.
|Real Madrid B||1989-90||Segunda División||10||5|
|1990-91||Segunda División B||13||0|
|Real Madrid||1990-91||La Liga||0||0|
|Albacete (loan)||1991-92||La Liga||11||1|
|Celta (loan)||1992-93||La Liga||6||1|
|Rayo Vallecano||1993-94||La Liga||20||1|
|Athletic Bilbao||1996-97||La Liga||38||16|
|1.||27 March 1999||Mestalla, Valencia, Spain||Austria||3-0||9-0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|2.||27 March 1999||Mestalla, Valencia, Spain||Austria||5-0||9-0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|3.||31 March 1999||Olimpico, Serravalle, San Marino||San Marino||0-3||0-6||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|4.||8 September 1999||Vivero, Badajoz, Spain||Cyprus||1-0||8-0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|5.||8 September 1999||Vivero, Badajoz, Spain||Cyprus||2-0||8-0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|6.||8 September 1999||Vivero, Badajoz, Spain||Cyprus||4-0||8-0||Euro 2000 qualifying|
|7.||26 January 2000||Cartagonova, Cartagena, Spain||Poland||2-0||3-0||Friendly|
|8.||26 January 2000||Cartagonova, Cartagena, Spain||Poland||3-0||3-0||Friendly|