Iñaki Williams

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Iñaki Williams
SM-AB 2018 (12) (cropped).jpg
Williams in 2018
Personal information
Full name Iñaki Williams Arthuer
Date of birth (1994-06-15) 15 June 1994 (age 25)
Place of birth Bilbao, Spain
Height 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Athletic Bilbao
Number 9
Youth career
Natación Pamplona
2009–2012 Pamplona
2012–2013 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2013–2014 Basconia 18 (7)
2014–2015 Bilbao Athletic 32 (21)
2014– Athletic Bilbao 157 (33)
National team
2015–2017 Spain U21 17 (3)
2016– Spain 1 (0)
2018– Basque Country 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:02, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 October 2018

Iñaki Williams Arthuer (Basque: [iɲaki wilians̺]; Spanish: [iˈɲaki ˈwiljans]; born 15 June 1994) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Athletic Bilbao as a forward.[1]

Club career[edit]

Born in Bilbao, Biscay to Ghanaian immigrant parents (who crossed the desert on foot and jumped the Melilla border fence to reach Spain),[2] Williams spent much of his childhood in Pamplona[3][4] and was playing youth football with local CD Pamplona when he was spotted by Athletic Bilbao, who signed him to their youth setup at Lezama at the age of 18.[5] He spent his first season with the Juvenil A side and made a big impression, scoring at the rate of almost a goal a game (eventually ending with 36); the team finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey Juvenil de Fútbol,[6] and on 25 June 2013 he signed a new contract with the Basque club, running until 2017.[7]

Williams began 2013–14 playing with CD Basconia, the farm team who competed in Tercera División. After suffering a knee injury in August,[8] he returned to activity in October, made his debut as a senior and marked it with a goal.[3] He was immediately called upon by the reserves in Segunda División B and by the end of the same month had played his first match and scored his first goals at that level; he spent the campaign alternating between both squads.

At the start of 2014–15, Williams scored a hat-trick for Bilbao Athletic in a 4–0 win over SD Amorebieta,[9] and followed this on 7 September 2014 with another treble in a 5–1 rout of SD Leioa.[10] Despite only playing the first half of the season, his 13 goals from 18 appearances helped the team ascend to Segunda División.

On 6 December 2014, after profiting from Aritz Aduriz's injury,[11] Williams made his first-team – and La Liga – debut, starting in a 0–1 home loss against Córdoba CF.[12] He netted his first goal on 19 February of the following year, starting and contributing to a 2–2 draw at Torino F.C. in the UEFA Europa League round of 32,[13] becoming in the process the first black player to score for the club.[14]

On 17 May 2015, Williams scored his first goal in the top flight, netting a last-minute winner in a 3–2 away success over Elche CF to help Athletic come from behind 0–2.[15] Thirteen days later, he headed a consolation goal in the 1–3 loss to FC Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou.[16]

Williams scored a brace before giving away a penalty in Athletic's 3–1 win away to Real Betis, on 1 November 2015.[17] He repeated the feat the following match, at home against FK Partizan in the Europa League group stage (5–1).[18] Finding the net in his third match running, he scored "a phenomenal volley" to help beat RCD Espanyol 2–1 at the San Mamés.[19]

Williams playing for Athletic Bilbao in 2018

In late January 2016, having been scouted by the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, Williams agreed to an extension of his contract until 2021. The deal included a €50 million buyout clause.[20] He was sent off on 6 February at the end of a goalless home draw with Villarreal CF, together with opponent Daniele Bonera.[21]

During autumn 2017, Williams scored important late goals in the Europa League against Östersunds FK[22] and Hertha BSC[23] to help his team finish top of the group. On 17 January 2018, he agreed a contract renewal, running until 2025 with an incremental buyout clause of around €80 million.[24]

On 13 January 2019, Williams scored both goals in a 2–0 home league win over Sevilla FC, finding the net at San Mamés for the first time in 41 league appearances (the previous occasion being in December 2016).[25] His second, involving a turn and sprint from his own half, touch away from the goalkeeper and precise finish at high speed, was described as "incredible".[26] The fixture was also his 100th successive appearance in the league,[26] only the fifth Athletic player to achieve this[27] and the first outfield player from any Spanish club to do so since Fran in 1993; for his performances, he was named the La Liga Player of the Month.[28]

In August 2019 he signed a nine-year contract with Athletic with his release clause set at €135 million.[29]

International career[edit]

On 20 March 2015, Williams received his first international call-up, being named in Albert Celades' Spain under-21 squad for friendlies with Norway and Belarus.[30] He made his debut on the 26th against the former, replacing goalscorer Munir El Haddadi at half-time of a 2–0 friendly win in Cartagena.[31]

Williams was one of 11 stand-by players for Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad at UEFA Euro 2016.[32] Around the same time, he was also coveted by the Ghanaian national team by their Spanish scout Gerard Nus.[33] He made his debut for the former on 29 May, replacing fellow debutant Marco Asensio at the hour mark of a 3–1 friendly defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Williams' younger brother, Nico, is also a footballer and a forward. He too was brought up at Athletic Bilbao.[35]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 18 May 2019[36][37]
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basconia 2013–14 Tercera División 18 7 18 7
Total 18 7 0 0 0 0 18 7
Bilbao Athletic 2013–14 Segunda División B 14 8 14 8
2014–15 18 13 18 13
Total 32 21 0 0 0 0 32 21
Athletic Bilbao 2014–15 La Liga 19 1 4 1 2 1 25 3
2015–16 25 8 5 3 7 2 37 13
2016–17 38 5 3 2 8 1 49 8
2017–18 38 7 1 0 13 3 52 10
2018–19 38 12 3 2 41 14
Total 157 33 16 8 30 7 204 48
Career total 207 61 16 8 30 7 254 76

Honours[edit]

Spain U21

Individual

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Renedo, Íñigo (7 May 2015). "Iñaki Williams, la pantera de Lezama" [Iñaki Williams, Lezama's panther]. La República (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 12 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  2. ^ Cantera, Silvia (14 May 2019). "Iñaki Williams: «Tengo entre 5 y 10 millones de euros»" [Iñaki Williams: "I have between 5 and 10 million euros"]. El Correo (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Iñaki Williams regresa con gol" [Iñaki Williams returns with a goal]. El Correo (in Spanish). 15 October 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  4. ^ "El discurso de Williams que todo el mundo elogia: «Soy negro, pero también vasco»" [The Williams speech that everyone praises: "I am black, but also Basque"]. El Correo (in Spanish). 9 August 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Black is Basque". Naiz (in Spanish). 21 January 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  6. ^ "El Madrid gana la Copa juvenil veinte años después" [Madrid win the 'Copa Juvenil' after 20 years]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 June 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  7. ^ Cuenca, Nika (25 June 2013). "El Athletic blinda a una de sus joyas del juvenil: Iñaki Williams" [Athletic shield one of their youth squad gems: Iñaki Williams]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Iñaki Williams, de 2 a 5 meses de baja" [Iñaki Williams, from 2 to 5 months out]. El Correo (in Spanish). 15 August 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  9. ^ Beltrán, Javi (25 August 2014). "Williams, con tres goles, abandera a un letal Bilbao Athletic" [Williams, with three goals, spearheads a lethal Bilbao Athletic] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  10. ^ Posada, Gorka (10 September 2014). "El Athletic comienza el blindaje de Iñaki Williams" [Athletic start shielding Iñaki Williams] (in Spanish). Goal. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  11. ^ Cuenca, Nika (5 December 2014). "Vía libre para el joven Iñaki Williams por la lesión de Aduriz" [Freeway to young Iñaki Williams due to Aduriz's injury]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  12. ^ López, Jesús Fernando (6 December 2014). "Ghilas devuelve la sonrisa al Córdoba" [Ghilas brings the smiles back to Córdoba]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Honours even between Torino and Athletic". UEFA. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Inaki Williams becomes first black Athletic Bilbao goalscorer in 117-year history". Sky Sports. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  15. ^ Rincón, Jaime (17 May 2015). "Williams señala a Europa" [Williams points to Europe]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  16. ^ Lowe, Sid (30 May 2015). "Lionel Messi double gives Barcelona Cup final win over Athletic Bilbao". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Williams fires improving Bilbao to victory at Betis". Eurosport. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Williams at the double as Athletic go clear". UEFA. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Inaki Williams scores phenomenal volley for Athletic Bilbao against Espanyol". Sky Sports. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  20. ^ Aarons, Ed (21 January 2016). "Athletic Bilbao's Iñaki Williams signs new contract with €50m release clause". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  21. ^ Gowar, Rex (6 February 2016). "Torres grabs 100th Atletico goal in win over Eibar". Reuters. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  22. ^ Hughes, Simon (2 November 2017). "An English coach in Europe: Graham Potter on his Swedish renaissance with Östersunds". The Independent. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Hertha Berlin suffer costly Europa League defeat to Bilbao". Bundesliga. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Iñaki Williams's contract renewal". Athletic Bilbao. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  25. ^ Herrán, Alfonso (13 January 2019). "Williams desencadenado" [Williams unleashed]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  26. ^ a b Lowe, Sid (14 January 2019). "'Vooooooosh': Iñaki Williams and a run like nobody has run before". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Iñaki Williams, 100 games in League". Athletic Bilbao. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Iñaki Williams named LaLiga Santander Player of the Month for January". La Liga. 6 February 2019. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Inaki Williams: Athletic Bilbao striker signs nine-year contract". 12 August 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  30. ^ "Williams, a la sub-21" [Williams, to the under-21]. El País (in Spanish). 20 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  31. ^ Muñoz, Antonio D. (26 March 2015). "Spain beats Norway and strengthens the team (2–0)". Royal Spanish Football Federation. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Euro 2016: Costa and Mata dropped from Spain's provisional squad". Yahoo Sports. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  33. ^ Narkortu Teye, Prince (2 May 2016). "Gerard Nus: Inaki Williams could play for Ghana". Goal. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
  34. ^ Campos, Tomás (29 May 2016). "Nolito endulza un duelo atípico" [Nolito sweetens an atypical duel]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  35. ^ Río, Endika (10 February 2019). "El hermano de Iñaki Williams debuta con gol en el juvenil del Athletic" [Iñaki Williams' brother debuts with goal for Athletic youths]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Iñaki Williams". Soccerway. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  37. ^ "Williams". Athletic Bilbao. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  38. ^ https://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2017/teams/team=200122/squad/index.html
  39. ^ https://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2017/matches/index.html

External links[edit]