It’s hard not to be drawn to the story of a footballer whose parents walked over 5,000km and traversed the Sahara Desert on foot. That footballer is Inaki Williams.
21 goals in 32 games for Bilbao Athletic was, not surprisingly, the kind of goal scoring exploits that earned the now 26-year-old Williams promotion to Athletic Bilbao’s first team. Since then he’s notched 40 goals in 189 league appearances. If not quite prolific (There’s been no shortage of assists either) that’s still a mighty fine contribution in Spain’s top tier from a player who works tirelessly for the team. There’s even been a solitary Spanish cap along the way and it’s to be hoped that Williams can add to his singular international outing. Competition amongst attacking players for places in the Spanish squad is always intense but it’s not unheard of for an older pro to sneak into their national team. Still only 26, that should serve as inspiration for Williams even if in the short term it narrows his chances.
It’d be great to see Williams challenge himself in the English Premier League. He’s got a good deal of experience now and in his mid-twenties, the time could be ripe to seek pastures new. Williams seems settled at Bilbao however (He previously rebuked Manchester United) and why wouldn’t he? He’s clearly grateful for the opportunity the city has provided him after the voyage that his parents endured. It wasn’t even as simple as rocking up in Spain and beginning a new life. Williams’ parents were imprisoned before they’d even departed Africa but with the help of a hero or two they made their way across the Mediterranean. His family’s story has been written about in great detail by far better writers than me and the last thing I’d want is to scratch together some edited copy and paste job. A quick internet search will help you find the fine details.
For a young black man trying to pave his way in Spain, racism still rears its ugly head. It’s testament to Williams’ character and his family that he’s dealt with it (On multiple occasions) in a dignified way. Williams’ life story is an inspirational one. That’s he’s complimented it with genuine substance makes it even better. He’s already been worth watching but he’s still one to watch in the years to come!