|Athletic Youths Honour||-||2005-06||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Iker Munian is Athletic Club’s captain fantastic. He’s been with the club for over 15 seasons and is about to start his 12th season with the first team. For the past decade, Iker has been front and centre for some of Athletic’s greatest moments.
Muniain came to Lezama to play with the Under-14s in 2005-06. Four seasons later at just 16 years of age, Iker became the youngest person to make a first team debut for Athletic in almost 100 years after coming on as a substitute in the Europa League qualifying match against BSC Young Boys. One week later, he scored the winning goal as Athletic moved on to the next round.
The records continued to fall and by time the 2010-11 season came around, Iker was a key player in Joaquin Caparros’ side.
In 2011-12, he played a total of 58 games, scoring nine times as Athletic Club reached the finals of the Copa del Rey and Europa League under Marcelo Bielsa. His 89th minute goal against Manchester Utd at Old Trafford in the Europa League was one of the highlights of the run to the final.
Ten years after making his debut, Muniain became the Athletic Club captain for the 2019-20 season.
Equally as comfortable out on the left or in the attacking midfielder position, it is generally agreed that the playmaker is one of the most technically gifted players to have ever passed through the ranks at Lezama.
He’s a mercurial player, he links up well with teammates and likes to operate in tight spaces where he can turn markers with his pace and technique. He combines this with great dribbling skills, he often beats opponents with ease when the ball is at his feet. Due to his leadership skills and technical ability, he gives the team a considerable leap in quality when he plays.
Sometimes it’s difficult to forget that Muniain is only 27 years old due to how long he’s been around. He’s already made a whopping 422 appearances for Athletic and only needs nine more to join the club’s top ten appearance holders.