Iñaki Williams “Athletic Is Above Everything”
Iñaki Williams has become one of the biggest stars for Athletic and a fan favorite at San Mamés. Born in Bilbao to refugee parents, the striker grew up an Athletic fan in Pamplona and dreamed of playing for the Zurigorri. The 25-year-old is living that dream today and on Monday night joined El Hormiguero as a special guest where he explained what it feels like to score a goal
“These are very fast moments, you have to make decisions very quickly. When the ball arrives you look at the goalkeeper, you make a choice, and when you put the ball into the goal it’s like an orgasm. It’s like you’re outside of yourself, as if you’re God. Scoring is the best feeling. Celebrations also have consequences. When I scored against Barcelona my teammates came and someone stomped on me. I still have a swollen foot, but you can’t show that you’ve been hurt.”
Having regularly stated that he wants to spend his entire career with Athletic, Williams was asked what he would do if Barcelona called willing to pay his release clause. His answer came as no surprise.
“Barça is Barça. They are a great team and they have the best player in the world, but Athletic is above everything. It’s what I’ve felt since this feeling was instilled in me when I was little. You go to Lezama, you go to San Mamés, and your maximum aspiration is to be part of the first team. I’m lucky to represent all of Bilbao by wearing the Athletic shirt.”
Williams has never been shy about discussing his relationship with his mother. At times he’s admitted that she controls his money and she’s still the first call he makes when he needs advice or support.
“She’s the boss. When I relax she pushes me because she knows where I’m happy. From an early age she would talk to me in Ghanaian when she was angry and it meant that I had done something wrong. Ghanaian is tough, like Basque, and the accent is strong. We all know the importance of the mother to a child and it’s still very important in the day to day. She’s always the first person I call.”
Being raised by immigrant parents, Williams learned humility and thankfulness at an early age. He went on to share that he was in shock when he was first told the full story of how his parents made the trip into the country.
“My parents have given everything in life so that my brother and I have what we have. They are superheroes. We owe them everything. When I was a kid they told me they came here by airplane, but when I got older my mother told me real story on the sofa. They walked the Sahara desert, my father was barefoot, they were put in jail and people helped them, and my mother jumped the fence while she was pregnant with me. Fate wanted me to be born in Bilbao, that’s why I’m an Athletic player.”
As part of the interview Williams was asked about the racist abuse he suffered against Espanyol. The striker wanted to clarify that it was only a handful of fans while also saying that he wants to use his platform to raise awareness.
“It must be said that it wasn’t all of Espanyol’s fans. There were twelve or fifteen unpresentable people. We have to educate the youngest, not for me but for the people in the streets. It doesn’t affect me, but it’s not something acceptable in football or anywhere else.”
Iñaki Williams leads Athletic with 9 goals this season, but has yet to reach his full potential. The 25-year-old wants to retire as a club legend and could cement his legacy by helping the Lions win the Copa del Rey title in April.