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banner Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Urruti killed in car crash
The Nou Camp stadium
'Urruti' was a huge favourite at the Nou Camp (above)
Former Barcelona goalkeeper Javier Urruticoechea has been killed in a car accident.

The 49-year-old former player, more widely known as 'Urruti', died when his car hit the central barrier of a ring road in Barcelona in the early hours of Thursday morning.

"He was one of the most influential keepers in the history of the club," said Barcelona coach Carles Rexach, who played alongside Urruti.

"Apart from his skill as a keeper, he possessed the perfect temperament to play football in a big team. He never seemed to be affected by the pressure, was always in a good mood and was able to maintain his technique in the most testing conditions."

The Basque-born keeper began his professional career at his local club Real Sociedad, signed for Espanyol in 1976 and then moved across the city to Barcelona in 1981.

Urruti was capped five times for Spain and won the Zamora trophy, awarded to the keeper who concedes fewest goals in a season, in 1984.

He retired from professional football in 1988, shortly after the arrival of another Basque keeper, Andoni Zubizarreta, at the Catalan club.

He remained a resident of the Barcelona area.

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