Inaki Williams is an enigma, but you should know his story to admire his guts. Like many African players, Williams has come from poverty to become a household name in Spain, Ghana and the world.
The Athletic Bilbao forward has an admirable personality and is loved wherever he goes.
Players like him are rare, and his route to his current position, though not easy, tells a story of hard work, determination and humility.
There are many things the world does not know about Inaki Williams. In this piece, we lay them out.
Inaki Williams received the name of a Catholic priest
Williams was born on 15 June, 1994, at the Basurto Hospital in Bilbao, Spain, and named Inaki Williams Arthuer, after Reverend Father Inaki Mardones.
The name was in appreciation for helping the family with medical bills during the pregnancy, as they did not have a health card.
Inaki has multiple nationalities. Born in the Basque region of Spain, he is Spanish but also Ghanaian, the country of his father, while his mother is from Liberia.
After making his full debut for Spain on July 2022, Inaki announced the decision to switch to the country of his father to allow him to feature for the Black Stars of Ghana.
He was invited to the national team in September 2022 for friendlies against Brazil and Nicaragua.
He was also selected for the Black Stars to feature in the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup and played all three group-stage games against Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea.
Inaki Williams returned to Ghana for the first time with his Spanish girlfriend, Patricia Morales, a travel blogger.
Inaki Williams worked as a referee
Before convincing himself to stick to football, he tried his hands on refereeing. He earned as much as €25 a day as a referee.
The Black Stars forward would usually officiate matches involving his little brother. He used part of his earning to support his mother.
He also tried his hands at swimming before returning to football.
Amazing physical condition
Inaki Williams is in excellent physical condition. The Ghana international went almost six years without missing a Bilbao game to injury or suspension.
Doctors who examined the 28-year-old forward say his body is incredible and emits more continuous energy than Cesar Azpilicueta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He also achieved the dream of playing together with the little brother he once babysat – Nico, and made history with Athletic Bilbao.
The second fastest player in La Liga history
Inaki Williams became the fastest player in Spain with a record speed of 35.4 KPH. However, Gareth Bale later surpassed the record to push him into second.
First black professional to score for Athletic Bilbao
Besides once holding the record for the fastest player in Spain, Inaki became the first black professional footballer to score a goal in Athletic Bilbao’s 117-year history.
Speaks multiple languages
Inaki is fluent in speaking the Akan language. It is the native language of his father. He also speaks Spanish and Basque languages fluently. In 2021, Inaki claimed he had lost his fluency in speaking the English language.
The highest-paid Athletic player
Inaki has attracted the attention of top clubs in Europe. In 2018, several offers came from England, but he remained with the club and signed a nine-year extension in 2019.
The new contract made him the highest-paid player in the squad and had a release clause of €135 million.
Inaki earns around £189,000 per week.
What is the worth of Inaki Williams?
Inaki is a multi-millionaire sportsman believed to have a net worth of over $10 million. He lives a modest life but loves luxury cars. Inaki owns a black Mercedes AMG, valued at $118,000.
Fight against racism
While not at the end of racist attacks in Bilbao, he has felt the brunt of it in away stadia. In August 2016, at the El Molinón stadium used by Real Sporting de Gijón, a section of the crowd screamed “Uh, uh, uh!” against him, mimicking the cry of a monkey. It also happened at Espanyol in 2020.
He thus recently joined the likes of Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli in their campaign against racism.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 weeks ago