Iñaki Williams “My Dream Is to Lift A European Title With Athletic”
It wasn’t long ago that Iñaki Williams was seen as an underperforming forward who was incapable of functioning as Athletic’s striker. The Lezama product struggled in front of goal, but that now seems to be a thing of the past. Williams has developed into a deadly attacker under manager Gaizka Garitano and told Onda Cero Friday night that he loves the demand to be better.
“When the goals aren’t coming the critics will be there. Those who praise me now will also be critical of me. The fans have always demanded a lot from me and they know what I can give. I like the demand because it makes me grow. Football has me smiling and I’m happy to be helping the team with goals. My dream is to lift a European title with Athletic. I believe that in a few years it will be possible. I am very happy at Athletic and I’m where I want to be. I don’t have any intention of going anywhere else.”
Williams isn’t the only one who has improved under Garitano. The entire team is playing at a much higher level and accomplishing things that didn’t seem possible months ago. “Being able to be where we are now is only because of all the work we have done”, the striker explained. “Seeing how the season was going, being in 7th now is unbelievable. If you told me that would happen back in October I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Still just 24 years old, Williams has become a star at the San Mamés. He’s one of the highest paid players in the team but is being wise with his money. “My mother advises me on money matters”, he admitted. “If I want to make a big purchase I always ask her for approval. If she doesn’t give me her approval I don’t do it. My mother knows what’s right and she gives me advice. I try to listen to her in everything.”
Athletic will travel to the Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday with hopes of winning there for the first time in 14 years. Williams actually admitted that it’s one of his favorite stadiums to play in besides the Cathedral. “Other than San Mamés, the stadiums I like to play in are the Santiago Bernabéu and Anoeta. I like to score against Real Sociedad to annoy them. My friends are going to see me at the Bernabéu. If I score I will dedicate the goal to them for always supporting me.”
Real Madrid’s season is essentially over at this point. They have been eliminated from the Champions League and Copa del Rey and can’t catch Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table. “This is the best moment to beat Real Madrid and I think we can get the three points”, Williams said with confidence. “Real Madrid are not having the best season and if there is a moment that we can beat them it’s now. We can give them a scare. I want to score against Madrid.”
There’s a chance that Williams could have more competition next season. Former Athletic striker Fernando Llorente may return to the club if things work out that way and Williams would be happy to have him back. “If Fernando Llorente decides to return this summer he will be welcome at Athletic Club. He’s a great striker.” Regardless of what happens, Iñaki Williams has proven that he is the present and future at San Mamés.