Muniain playing for Athletic Bilbao in 2014
|Full name||Iker Muniain Goñi|
|Date of birth||19 December 1992|
|Place of birth||Pamplona, Spain|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Forward|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15 May 2016.
Due to his style of play and stature, he was dubbed "the Spanish Messi" by the media. He spent most of his career with Athletic Bilbao after debuting in 2009 as their youngest player in a competitive match, making over 250 appearances for the club and reaching the finals of the Copa del Rey and Europa League in 2012.
Muniain made 59 appearances for Spain at youth level, winning the European Under-21 Championship in 2011 and 2013. He also featured at the 2012 Olympics, in the same year as his senior international debut.
Born in Pamplona, Navarre, Muniain was a product of Basque giants Athletic Bilbao's youth ranks. He made his first-team debut on 30 July 2009, in a UEFA Europa League qualifying match against BSC Young Boys: he entered the field as a 59th-minute substitute for Gaizka Toquero in an eventual 0–1 home defeat, thus becoming the youngest player ever to wear Athletic's shirt in an official game, at 16 years, 7 months and 11 days old.
One week later Muniain scored his first goal for the club, in the return match in Switzerland, Athletic won 2–1 and qualified for the playoff rounds. In this match he again entered the club's record books, as the youngest ever player to score a goal (16 years, 7 months and 18 days) in a competitive match.
On 30 August 2009 another record fell, as Muniain appeared (and started) in the 1–0 home win against RCD Espanyol (2009–10's opener), becoming the youngest player to have donned the club's shirt in La Liga. Two weeks later, he scored again in European competition, 3–0 at home against FK Austria Wien, after a good team move involving Andoni Iraola and veteran Joseba Etxeberria.
Muniain became the youngest player to score in a first division match, as he netted in a 2–2 draw at Real Valladolid on 4 October 2009, aged only 16 years and 289 days. On 1 December he signed his first professional contract with Athletic, running until June 2015. On the 6th, after nearly one month out due to injury, he returned to action, scoring as a 51st-minute substitute to give Athletic the lead, albeit in a 1–2 loss to Valencia CF; he set up both of his team's goals in the next game, a 2–1 win at Real Zaragoza, and finished his first senior season with 35 appearances across all competitions and six goals.
Muniain was an undisputed starter for Athletic in the 2010–11 campaign, featuring as a left winger for the Joaquín Caparrós-led side. On 17 April 2011 he scored a last-minute goal in a 2–1 away win against hometown club CA Osasuna, helping his team come from behind; he was initially booked for taking his hand to his ear during his celebrations – before signing for Athletic at the age of 12, he played for UDC Chantrea in Pamplona, and always considered Osasuna as a rival organisation – which meant a suspension for his fifth yellow card of the season, but it was later lifted; being able to take part in the following matchday, the derby against Real Sociedad, he netted another, in a 2–1 home success.
Muniain appeared in 58 contests overall in 2011–12, scoring on nine occasions as the Lions reached both the Europa League and the Copa del Rey finals. On 1 December 2013 he netted the game's only goal at the San Mamés Stadium, to hand FC Barcelona its first league loss of the new season; eighteen days later he celebrated his 21st birthday by grabbing a brace in a 4–0 domestic cup home win over Celta de Vigo, which signified his team progressed through to the round-of-16 4–1 on aggregate.
On 4 April 2015, during a game against Sevilla FC, Muniain suffered the first serious injury of his career, being sidelined for several months with an anterior cruciate ligament ailment to his left knee. After suffering some setbacks in his recovery process, he returned to action on 20 December, replacing Iñaki Williams for the last minutes of a 2–0 home win over Levante UD.
On 8 February 2011, at the age of only 18, Muniain made his debut with the under-21 team in a match against Denmark, replacing Adrián López. Subsequently, he was selected by manager Luis Milla to the squad that appeared in the 2011 UEFA European Football Championship, appearing in all the games as the national team won its third title in the category and qualified to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
On 24 February 2012, Muniain was called up to the senior team for the first time, for a friendly with Venezuela. Five days later, he came on for Cesc Fàbregas in the 74th minute of the 5–0 win in Málaga. Later that year, at the Olympics in London, he made two appearances as Spain exited in the group stage without scoring a goal.
- As of 29 February 2012
- Spain U21
- Spain U19
- Spain U17
- "Manchester United given go-ahead to sign the "New Messi"". Sports Vibe. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "El Young Boys toma La Catedral" [Young Boys take The Cathedral] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Spirit shows through on exciting night; UEFA.com, 6 August 2009
- "Muniaín to the fore for brilliant Bilbao". ESPN Soccernet. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "Athletic Bilbao prodigy Iker Muniaín becomes Primera Division's youngest ever goalscorer". Goal.com. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- "Valladolid and Bilbao share thriller". ESPN Soccernet. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "Muniaín signs Athletic deal". FIFA.com. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- "El Athletic firma el finiquito de Marcelino" [Marcelino runs out of credit courtesy of Athletic] (in Spanish). El Mundo. 13 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Last-gasp Athletic rattle Rojillos". ESPN Soccernet. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "El Athletic recurrirá ante el CEDD la tarjeta de Muniaín y solicitará la suspensión cautelar de la sanción" [Athletic to appeal CEDD on Muniaín yellow card, asking for temporary suspension lift] (in Spanish). Europa Press. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Athletic claim derby spoils". ESPN Soccernet. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Muniain promete tatuarse la Copa de la Liga Europa si gana la final" [Muniain promises to tattoo Europa League cup if he wins final] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "Barca stunned by Muniain". ESPN FC. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "Muniain aúpa al Athletic a octavos" [Muniain puts Athletic in last-16] (in Spanish). Marca. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Muniain estará siete meses de baja" [Muniain to miss seven months] (in Spanish). Marca. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Se retrasa la reaparición de Muniain" [Muniain return delayed] (in Spanish). Cadena SER. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Se retrasa, otra vez, el regreso de Muniain" [Muniain return delayed, again] (in Spanish). Marca. 16 November 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "El Athletic gana con solvencia al colista y se coloca séptimo" [Athletic defeats bottom-placed easily and ranks seventh] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- Celestiales (Heavenly); Marca, 29 February 2012
- Athletic Bilbao profile
- "Muniain". Soccerway. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iker Muniain.|