Pacey forward Iñaki Williams is definitely one of Athletic Club’s biggest stars and most important players. San Mamés loves nothing more than to watch a full-flight Iñaki gliding past opposing defenders. Fortunately, Athletic fans can keep doing so until 2028, as Williams has committed his long-term future to his boyhood club.
Williams arrived at Lezama in 2012-13 and scored goals for fun as he made his way through the ranks at the academy. The striker simply could not be contained, bagging 21 goals in 32 appearances for Bilbao Athletic between 2013 and 2015.
In 2014-15, head coach Ernesto Valverde handed Williams his LaLiga debut in a 0-1 loss to Córdoba CF.
Initially, Williams began his first-team career as a right-winger, but when former striker Aritz Aduriz started to suffer with injuries, Athletic Club became more reliant on Williams as a no.9.
His versatility and ability to play two positions effectively is very helpful, as it gives Valverde more options. But of course, Iñaki’s biggest asset is his speed, he regularly hits speeds in excess of 35 kph. When he gets going, it is devastating.
Perhaps more incredible is his consistency and resistance to injuries. Last season, Iñaki broke the long-standing LaLiga record for consecutive appearances, playing his 203rd game in a row in the Matchday 9 fixture against Deportivo Alavés.
Iñaki’s goals tend to be spectacular and important. For example, in the 2020-21 Super Cup final, he scored a stunning extra-time winner which saw Athletic beat FC Barcelona and lift the trophy.
One of Williams’ most memorable goals was his second in Athletic’s 2-0 home victory over Sevilla in 2018-19. He received the ball in the semi-circle, flicked it past his marker, outsprinted the defender to the ball and left the entire Sevilla defence in his wake before rounding the keeper and scoring.
So far, Iñaki has played in 340 matches and scored 75 times for Athletic Club. Considering he has committed himself to the club until 2028, fans should expect to see him score many more goals.
In 2020-21, Iñaki fulfilled the long-held dream of playing senior football alongside his younger brother Nico. The Williams brothers shared the pitch together during the final stretch of the LaLiga Matchday 33 fixture against Real Valladolid.
We can now also expect to see more of Iñaki on the international scene. The striker recently made himself available for selection for Ghana, the birth country of his parents.