Know your African Star: Iñaki Williams –LALIGA’s indestructible man


By Caroly Kipkoech

Iñaki Williams is a Ghanaian professional footballer who plays as a right winger or forward for LALIGA side Athletic Club. Born to Félix Williams and María Arthuer, he is known for his speed, versatility, and durability on the field.

Early life and background

Iñaki Williams was born on 15 June 1994 in Bilbao, Spain. His parents migrated to Spain from Ghana, facing many challenges along the way. Iñaki’s multicultural heritage plays an important role in his identity and has been a topic of discussion throughout his career.

Growing up in Bilbao, Iñaki developed a passion for football early on. He joined local youth teams and quickly gained attention for his talent and work ethic.

Early career

Williams began his footballing journey with local youth clubs in the Basque Country, ultimately joining Athletic Club’s youth academy, known as “Lezama.” Athletic Club is famous for its Basque-only policy, which emphasizes the development of local talent.

Williams’ performances at the youth level were impressive, and he quickly progressed through the ranks. He made his professional debut for Athletic Club’s reserve team, Bilbao Athletic, in 2013. His quick development earned him a significant promotion to the first team in 2014.

Professional career

He made his La Liga debut for Athletic Club on December 6, 2014, against Córdoba CF. He scored his first goal for the club in the UEFA Europa League against Torino on February 19, 2015. This goal made him the first black player to score for Athletic Club in a European competition.

Williams’ breakthrough season came in 2015-2016 when he established himself as a regular starter for the club. Known for his speed and versatility, he primarily played as a forward but could also operate as a winger. His performances attracted interest from top European clubs, but he remained loyal to Athletic Club by signing a long-term deal.

Inaki Williams in action for Athletic Club Bilbao in a LALIGA match.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Iñaki Williams’ career is his record-breaking streak of consecutive appearances in LALIGA. In October 2021, he surpassed the previous record of 202 consecutive appearances held by Juan Antonio Larrainzar. By the end of 2023, Williams’ streak had reached over 400 consecutive appearances for the club, setting a new record for durability in the league.

National team career

Although born in Spain, Iñaki Williams has Ghanaian heritage. In 2016, he received his first call-up to the Spanish national team, debuting in a friendly match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, his involvement with the Spanish national team was limited.

Inaki Williams celebrates after scoring for for the Ghanaian National team, the Black Stars. PHOTO: GFA Communications.

In 2022, Williams announced his decision to switch his international allegiance to Ghana, marking a significant chapter in his career. In September, he received his first call-up for friendlies with Brazil and Nicaragua. He made his debut against the former, playing the second half of the 3–0 loss in Le Havre. Within the team, he took the name “Kweku” due to the day on which he was born (Wednesday), a Ghanaian custom.

Williams was also called up for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, which took place between January and February 2024.


Iñaki Williams is known for his commitment to Athletic Club and his strong ties to his Basque and Ghanaian heritage. His resilience has made him a role model for young players and a beloved figure among Athletic Club fans.

Williams holds the LALIGA record for consecutive league outings, having featured in 247 consecutive games stretching back to April 2016.

Williams’ loyalty to Athletic Club, despite interest from other top clubs, speaks to his sense of community and commitment to the club’s unique philosophy. Off the field, he is recognised for his humility and charitable work, often engaging with fans and supporting local initiatives.

Overall, Iñaki Williams has had a significant impact on Spanish football and continues to be a key player for Athletic Club and the Ghanaian national team.

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