In the name of the Williams

The Williams brothers, Iñaki, on the right, and Nico, in the game against Valladolid.

In August 2019, Iñaki Williams (Bilbao, 26 years old), granted an interview to EL PAÍS. That day he daydreamed. His wish was, then, that his brother Nicolás (Pamplona, ​​18 years old), could one day play alongside him for Athletic: “That would make me very happy. How I would like the Williams brothers to play together, two black brothers. I think it would be a source of pride for many people and that the fans would feel very identified with us because we come from a very humble family. My brother has it in his hand ”. Even then, Nico stood out in the rojiblanco youth team, but Iñaki demanded more of him: “I always tell him, and many times I have to pull his ears. Many times I have had to act with the role of father with him. I have worked hard and I try to make him see that no one here gives anything away, that he will have to earn everything for himself. It depends on him, he has to work and burn stages, he is still very young. If you want, you can get it ”, he explained in that interview.

The little brother has burned those stages. At Bilbao Athletic, already classified for the playoff for promotion to the Second Division, under Joseba Etxeberria, he has played 22 games and scored nine goals. On Wednesday, three months after turning 19, with the number 30 on his back, the same as his brother Iñaki wore in his debut against Córdoba seven seasons ago, Nico jumped onto the San Mamés grass in the 61st minute, against Iñaki’s radiant smile, who warmed up in the band and applauded the youngest of the family. He stumbled on the first ball he touched in the top flight, occupying the right wing. A few minutes later, in ’72 and after Valladolid’s equalizing goal, Marcelino decided to let Iñaki in and the dream came true. They played together in the Athletic attack. The first time that two brothers met on the field dressed in red and white since Patxi and Julio Salinas did it for the last time on April 20, 1986 at the Vicente Calderón stadium, 35 years ago.

Iñaki celebrates his seventh season in the Athletic first team. He has played 308 games, scored 85 goals and provided 43 assists, the last one to Raúl García for Bilbao’s second goal in the match against Valladolid. Despite being a native of Bilbao, he started playing soccer in Pamplona, ​​where his brother was born. In the summer of 2012, at the age of 18, he joined Athletic from CD Pamplona, ​​a club linked to the rojiblanco team. Nico, however, has played in the lower categories of Lezama since the youngster, with 11 years, and has been promoted until reaching the first team. Unless Marcelino decides otherwise, he will return to the subsidiary to compete in the promotion phase to the Second Division. He has a contract until 2024, which increases due to the achievement of objectives, and a termination clause of 40 million euros. After his first match at Athletic, he appeared before the club’s cameras and assured: “It is a joy for my brother, for me and for my family to be able to debut with the first team and hopefully I can continue adding minutes with my brother. You have to keep working. I’m super happy, although it’s a shame not to have added the three points, ”Nico said after his premiere at San Mamés.

Last December, Gaizka Garitano already took him summoned to a LaLiga match against Villarreal, although he stayed in the stands. At that time, Iñaki, who had to act as a father when his father made a living working in London and both were in charge of his mother, wrote a tweet that he left fixed in his account: “How proud I am of you, of what you are achieving with just 18 years. Step by Step. Work, work and more work. What the old people have instilled in us. Nobody has given you anything ”.

Nico is fast, although not as fast as Iñaki, but his technical foundations, they say at Lezama’s school, are better. So does his brother: “He has many more qualities than I had at his age. Every time I see him more mature ”, analyzes the older of the Williams. On Wednesday against Valladolid they added their first minutes together. The Williamses open another family saga in Athletic.

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