Sir Isidro Lángara
Born on 15th May 1912 in Pasajes Ancho (Guipúzcoa), Isidro Lángara Galarraga stood out as a footballer from a very early age. His physique and skills made it possible for him to display a lethal acceleration over short distances, a remarkable aerial play, a stunning shot power and a ruthless goal-scoring instinct. All of them could already be glimpsed when, as a little boy, he started playing for Bildur Guchi (The Fearless) in Andoain. Later, he went on to develop and perfect his skills in some other youth sides such as CD Esperanza (San Sebastián), Adelante (Pasajes) and Andoain.
He began to excel as a top scorer at Tolosa CF in 1928, when they got promoted to the third tier of Spanish football in the same year as La Liga was born. Being from Guipúzcoa, it seemed more than likely that Real Sociedad would sign him. However, the Basque side had a brilliant forward line with the likes of Cholín, Yurrita, Kiriki or Bienzobas so on 1st December 1930 Real Oviedo managed to sign him after some complex negotiations.
On 7th December 1930, Isidro Lángara made his debut for Real Oviedo. It was the first fixture of the 1930-1931 season, Real Oviedo played Athletic Club Madrid and the Carbayón manager Patrick O’Connell lined up the following starting XI: Óscar (Benjamín, 35’), Goyo, Calichi, Sión, Avilesu, Estévez, Tamargo, Polón, Álamo, Lángara and Inciarte. On his first appearance with the Carbayón side, he netted a couple of goals, the first ones of a long tally to come.
On 24th April 1932 Real Oviedo’s Buenavista Stadium was officially opened with a match between Spain and Yugoslavia. Isidro Lángara played for the first time ever for the Spanish national team and managed to score once. He got twelve caps playing for Spain, scoring seventeen goals. For three seasons in a row he was La Liga’s top-scorer, until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 came in between him and the opposition’s goal.
In 1937, amidst the chaos of the Spanish conflict, a Basque national side was teamed up. They were a squad whose main aim was to raise some funds for the Basque government by playing friendly matches around Europe and America. Once Bilbao was taken over by Nationalist forces, the Basque side settled down in Mexico, where they took part in the 1938-1939 Liga Mayor under the name of Club Deportivo Euskadi and finished as runners-up in the title race.
As regards Lángara, he had his future on the other side of the pond so he had left Spain as an exile and set sail to Mexico with the Basque national team. Later on, he moved to Argentina, where he joined San Lorenzo Almagro, where he had a brilliant spell from 1939 to 1943. In his four seasons at San Lorenzo he scored 110 goals just in the league, even though he did not complete the last one as he went back to Mexico to sign for Club España. During the time with his new club, the most successful Mexican side at that moment, he went on to win one league title and a couple of top-scorer awards in the Mexican championship. There, he came across other top Spanish players such as Blasco, Aedo, Cilaurren, Quesada, Iraragorri and even a former Real Oviedo player, the Mexican Laviada.
Meanwhile, in Spain the Order of 19th December 1939 established that all sportsmen who had fought on the Republican side or had left Spain from 18th July 1936 on would be suspended for six years if they did not return to Spain in less than two months. As a result, in 1946 Lángara came back to Spain and Real Oviedo could count on its most renowned player again.
On 18th April 1948, Isidro Lángara called it a day and wore the blue shirt for the last time in his career in an away Spanish Cup fixture against Cultural Leonesa. In his farewell match, as he had done in his debut eighteen seasons before, he scored a couple of goals for Real Oviedo. Those were the last ones of a total of 256 in his 193 appearances as the Blues striker in official matches. His name was Isidro Lángara. In a nutshell, the best Carbayón scorer ever.
Our mighty striker passed away in Andoain (Guipúzcoa) on 12th August 1992.
By: OK English