Iñaki Williams “I Would Give Everything To Live Something Like What Goiko Lived”
The Copa del Rey will begin in just a few days and Athletic understand the importance of the tournament more than most. Second only to Barcelona in number of Cup titles, Athletic have often been called the Kings of the Cup and are eager to lift it once again. The last time the Lions won the title was back in 1984. Far too much time has passed since then and the current team is determined to bring glory back to Bilbao.
“To reach a Cup final and win it, I would say, is one of the highest levels that an Athletic player can achieve,” club legend Andoni Goikoetxea told DAZN in a recent interview. Goikoetxea was an important part of Athletic’s last Copa del Rey winning team. “Then when you go to the town you’re going to the barge. It’s something very, very important because the barge is a success of Athletic.”
Iñaki Williams wasn’t born yet the last time Athletic took the barge out to celebrate a title, but he knows the magnitude of what it means. “I’ve been fortunate to see reports and videos,” he said sitting beside Goikoetxea in the interview. “I’ve been told about the success in the eighties and it was incredible.”
Goikoetxea may be one of the most decorated players to ever wear the Athletic shirt, but he still can’t put into words what it means to win the Copa del Rey. “It’s something you have to live. Telling others about it is difficult because you’re in a cloud. From the moment you get the title everything surpasses you.”
Today the new generation of Athletic stars dream of taking out the barge. “It’s what we all would like to live,” said Williams. “I would give everything I have to live something like what Goiko lived. That was a team that made many people celebrate. We have the squad to do it. We trust ourselves a lot. We want to feel that support from fans and make them feel proud of us. Hopefully we can live the experience of being Cup champions and give the joy of taking out the Gabarra back to the people of Bilbao.”
Goikoetxea agrees that the current Athletic team has what it takes to win the Cup and hopes that it will happen. “Athletic has a great team, a very good team. They also have enthusiasm and desire to conquer things and achieve goals. I hope it happens as soon as possible. It’s been almost 35 years, which is a long time, and this year we have a new opportunity. If it happens, it would be a dream come true.”
Athletic will kick off their Copa del Rey season on Tuesday when they travel to face Intercity. The Lions must win to advance to the next round and each game will become more difficult. Athletic are excited to get the tournament started and, just maybe, will be standing on the barge in April. “See you at the barge,” Goikoetxea said to Williams at the end of the interview. “Hopefully,” responded the striker with a smile.