Iñaki Williams “It’s Been Easy To Say No To Other Clubs”
Many clubs across Europe have shown interest in Iñaki Williams over the years, but he’s fully committed to Athletic. He knows where he wants to be and that has made it easier to focus on accomplishing his goals with the Basque giants. In a recent interview with Juanma Velasco of Marca the 24-year-old admitted that it’s been easy to reject offers to leave and that he’s never even considered it a possibility.
“We all know that football moves a lot of money and I have been able to have the interest of several clubs, but I have always been focused on where I am because this is where I want to be. It’s been easy to say no to offers and focus on the Athletic shirt. I’m very happy. I’m not even considering the idea of leaving. I am happy here. It’s something that I always say. I have family, friends, and I feel supported and loved by the fans.”
Williams wants to be at Athletic for a long time. His entire life is in Bilbao, including his best friend Iker Munain with whom he wants to accomplish special things at Athletic. Of course, he would love to be playing in Europe, but he wants to do that with Athletic and believes the Lions will be back soon.
“I would like to be here for a long time. I have great friends. With Iker I understand things incredibly well and I want to share many years and break records together. Obviously I want to be playing in Europe. The weeks are now very long and even longer when you play on Monday. I would prefer playing on Sundays. Playing in Europe is incredible for Athletic because it’s a very nice goal. We will be back soon. We have shown that we can compete in Europe and that is why we will work hard every year. The fact that fans have become accustomed to seeing us in Europe may make it easy to forget the value of what it means, but to qualify you have to be very good in La Liga. I think Europe is the place where we have to be.”
It’s no secret that Iñaki is playing the best football of his career under manager Gaizka Garitano. When asked about the new coach the forward admitted that Garitano knows how to utilize his strengths and he feels quite comfortable in the system. Williams is happy to be doing well as the striker and to have the confidence of the manager.
“Gaizka is an excellent coach. The idea with which he has come is to have clean sheets, to defend with tooth and nail. We want to be alive in matches, that makes us feel safe and also have our chances. He has given us the balance that it seemed we didn’t have in defense. He knows how to utilize my strengths. He knows that I am very direct and that I like to move with space, which I enjoy in the open field. He knows what I’m capable of and he’s giving me confidence. I’m doing well as the 9 and I’m glad because it makes me feel comfortable.”
In a separate interview with Onda Vasca Bilbao, Iñaki reveled that it was always his biggest dream to play for Athletic. Now that he has accomplished that goal he wants to become a legend. He’s proud to represent the club as a black player and is trying to pave the way for his little brother, Nico Williams, who hasn’t had to face as many trials while being a start player at Lezama.
“As a child I had the dream of being a great player. My greatest aspiration was to be an Athletic player. I’m proud to have achieved that. There is a black player at Athletic and people are proud that there is. I want to be the top scorer in the team this season and being a legend like Iribar is my dream. Little by little society is opening its mind. I feel Basque, even though I’m black, because I was born in Bilbao. My brother hasn’t suffered as much as I did. I try to make him see that nobody gives you anything. He has that handicap of being Iñaki’s brother. He has to work, make and effort, and above all else, study. Will I ever leave Athletic? It’s impossible for me to leave my friends. I feel Athletic. I care more about Athletic than any other club. I’m happy here. I have everything I need, family, friends, and support.”
Iñaki Williams is one of the highest wage earners at Athletic, but he’s been offered significantly more by other clubs. He’s had no problem turning down approaches and it’s safe to say that money hasn’t changed him. “It’s complicated”, he said when asked about becoming a famous footballer. “I am fortunate that my parents have instilled in me the humility, the effort, and not forgetting where I have come from. I make the decisions with money, but when there is an extra expense my mother tells me off. She is the boss, the one who carries the checkbook.” Iñaki has always been a boy with a dream and reaching his biggest goals hasn’t changed him one bit.