Aitor Zabaleta, 25 years after the murder that changed the fight against the ultras: “It is very cheap to kill in this country” | LaLiga EA Sports 2023

“We have not given them what they deserve, but they have not left empty-handed either. With those words he entered Ricardo Guerra Cuadrado on December 8, 1998, shortly after six in the afternoon, at the El Parador Bar. He had just murdered Aitor Zabaleta, 28 years old, with a stab wound to the heart. The event occurred next to a wall, a few meters from the Vicente Calderón stadium. He did so accompanied by several companions from the neo-Nazi group Bastin, a faction of the Atlantic Front.

Now, 25 years later, Ricardo Guerra has served his prison sentence. On September 14, he was released from prison after serving several sentences. Aitor rests in Zegama cemetery (Guipzcoa). It is very cheap to kill in this country, he assures Stephen Ibarrapresident of the Movement against Intolerance, who then served as popular prosecutor in the trial in which Ricardo Guerra was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Zabaleta’s murderer already had a long history of violence and pending cases: robbery frustrated with violence, crime against public health, attack against authority, several injuries, crime with a knife… When he killed Aitor he was in third degree prison regime. He is a magnet, a police source tells EL MUNDO.

Ricardo Guerra, murderer of Aitor Zabaleta.
Ricardo Guerra, murderer of Aitor Zabaleta.

In 2018, the third degree of prison was withdrawn after traveling without permission from Prisons to Belgium to attend the Champions League match between Atlético de Madrid and Bruges. ly 40 other members of the Suburbs Firm groupa split from the Atlético Front, were arrested by Belgian police for giving the Nazi salute, something prohibited in that country.

Suburbios Firm, a group to which Guerra belongs, is a consequence of a disagreement that began with the murder of the San Sebastian fan. Zabaleta was the cause of the disunity of the Atlético Front, says a police source, who explains that the politicization of the south end of the rojiblanco stadium confronted several ultras of the Front, among them The Ratillaleader of this split, because they advocated an even more radical ideology. I think they have more people capable of killing a person, as Ricardo already did, says the same police source.

Zabaleta’s death was the final act of a organized hunt that fateful December 8. The Real Sociedad fan, shortly before the fatal attack, had already been attacked along with his girlfriend at Bar Alegre, a place near the northern curve of the Calderón that a municipal police officer recommended to them before the game and that was frequented by ultras. of the Atlético. A run-in with several of them at the bar He ended with a punch that caused the hat he was wearing to fall to the ground. His girlfriend, View nica, asked them to leave and to forget about the incident. It was not possible.

Tribute from Basque authorities at the place of Aitor's death.
Tribute from Basque authorities at the place of Aitor’s death.EM

After leaving the bar, several individuals, including Guerra, got out of a car ready for anything. Aitor Zabaleta’s group ran away, but he stayed back to help a mother who was with her little son. They were able to escape, but The ultras surrounded Aitor and Guerra stabbed him fatally with a 9 centimeter razor blade. The San Sebastian fan died at 3 in the morning in a hospital. It is a date that I have recorded because we had been denouncing the Nazis from the Atltico stands for a long time, says Esteban Ibarra.

The trial was very tense, says Ibarra. Some defendants were accompanied by other members of Bastin. Several came to harass Aitor’s girlfriend on the day of her statement. The sentence left a bittersweet feeling, because although The murderer ended up convicted, he got away well. The penalty: 17 years in prison and 30 million pesetas in compensation, 20 for the parents and 10 for Aitor’s partner. Money they haven’t seen anything about.

Afterwards, a media circus was set up on the sad subject. In a television program, the judge who gave the third degree to Guerra and Aitor’s father agreed, Javier Zabaleta. The lawyer told him to leave the program if it made him feel uncomfortable and the father responded: ‘Don’t worry, I don’t have the problem with you, but with my son’s murderer,’ Ibarra reveals.

In addition to dividing the Atlético Front, Aitor’s murder made the institutions take another step in the fight against violence in football. In 2004, the Secretary of State, Jaime Lissavetzkycreated the Observatory of Violence in Sports, from which three years later Law 19/2007 against Violence, Racism and Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sports, which some called the Zabaleta Law. With it, for example, the punishment for insults received is regulated. Vinicius. This Observatory, according to the Movement against Intolerance, has not been convened for 10 years. Not even after the death of jimmyassures Ibarra.

Real fans at the Reale Arena.
Real fans at the Reale Arena.Javir EtxezarretaEFE

As the years go by, the name of Ricardo Guerra will be forgotten while football and, especially the Real Sociedad, will always have a place of honor for Aitor Zabaleta, in addition to the one he already has in the Reale Arena animation stands. He is our 12th player, they say in the Basque club. It is the feeling of the fans, they add.

Today, tribute will be paid to Aitor on all Royal Society communication channels. The in-person tributes will be on the 17th, at the before and after the match against Betis in San Sebastin. Family, club and clubs, especially the Bultzada Taldea, the group that occupies the Aitor Zabaleta stands, will remember the group’s follower txuri urdin. He says Isabel Allene: Death does not exist, people only die when they forget it; If you can remember me, always be with you. Nobody remembers how that UEFA Cup return duel between Atlético and Real Sociedad turned out, but Aitor will continue to be immortal.

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