|Place of birth Barakaldo, Spain|
Height 1.82 m
|Playing position |
|Full name José Ramón Alexanko Ventosa|
Similar Javier Urruticoechea, Migueli, José Mari Bakero, Julio Alberto Moreno, Quini
Date of birth (1956-05-19) 19 May 1956 (age 65)
During his career the central defender played with success for both Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona, winning several accolades for the latter – 16 in total – and appearing in 367 La Liga games over the course of 17 seasons (34 goals).
Born in Barakaldo, Biscay, Alexanko joined Athletic Bilbao's youth system in 1972, then served an unassuming loan with Basque neighbours Deportivo Alavés – second division – and returned subsequently. He made his La Liga debut on 12 December 1976, in a 5–2 home win against RCD Español (30 minutes played).
An undisputed starter from his second season onwards, Alexanko's highlights at Athletic were winning two runners-up medals, one in the Copa del Rey and one in the UEFA Cup, both in 1977. Among his teammates were veterans José Ángel Iribar and Javier Irureta.
Barcelona / Coaching
In 1980, Alexanko signed for FC Barcelona, paving the way for a number of fellow Basque players including José Mari Bakero, Txiki Begiristain, Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, Julio Salinas and Andoni Zubizarreta. With him as captain they formed the backbone of the legendary Dream Team, which won four consecutive league championships.
Among his most memorable moments during his 13 seasons at the Catalan side, Alexanko scored the winning goal as Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1–0 in the 1988 domestic cup final, also playing about ten minutes in the 1992 European Cup Final. Six years earlier he had his penalty shootout attempt saved by FC Steaua Bucureşti's Helmuth Duckadam, as Barça lost the 1986 edition in Seville.
After retiring as a player in 1993, Alexanko started a coaching career as he managed Romanian sides FC Universitatea Craiova and FC Naţional Bucureşti. In the middle of 2000 he returned to Barcelona, assisting head coach Carles Rexach (his teammate in the forward's last season as a player).
Alexanko made his debut for Spain on 15 November 1978, playing in the 1–0 home win against Romania for the UEFA Euro 1980 qualifiers. He represented the nation at both Euro 1980 and the 1982 FIFA World Cup, retiring from the international scene at only 26 after the second group stage draw against England in the latter competition, with a total of 34 caps; he also appeared in one game for the Euskadi XI, in 1979.