Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams on how his parents moved from Ghana to Spain

Inaki Williams Athletic Bilbao 2019-20Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has provided an account of how his parents who are Ghanaians, left the West African nation for greener pastures in Spain.

They travelled thousands of kilometres across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea as refugees before settling in Melilla, a town sharing boundaries between Morocco and Spain.

“Because when my parents were in prison [on arrival in Spain], a gentleman showed up saying that he would like to meet them - I would really love to know who that man was and what he looked like but my mother can’t remember much about it and we didn’t have the chance to say thank you to him," Williams narrates on Movistar as per AS.

"He was a lawyer and he said, ‘Tear up your papers and explain that you came from a country at war’. So, as Liberia and Ghana are close, almost next to each other, they said they were from Liberia and ripped up their papers.

"This gentleman knew people who worked for [social services organisation] Caritas in Bilbao who helped my parents and that was where I met my godfather. He was the one who gave my parents a place to live and who baptized me.

"That’s why I’m called Inaki – in his honour. He helped my parents."

Williams went on to appreciate the efforts of those who helped his parents along their journey to Spain and also the city of Bilbao where he grew up.

"If it wasn’t for all of the kind people that my parents met along the way, maybe I wouldn’t be here today," he continued.

"I am very grateful to all of them – not just to my own parents but also to Bilbao because it is a city which is very special to me, to my parents and to my family because it showed me that kind good people exist."

Williams says he is still in touch with his namesake who is now doing charity work in Africa.

“We’re still in touch with Inaki [Mardones]," he said.

"Every year we go down to Pamplona to see him and spend the whole day together, chatting… so we are in constant contact.

"Right now he is in Africa, doing voluntary work, helping those who are less fortunate. He’s a very kind man.”

Williams has been an integral part of the Athletic Bilbao squad since making his debut in 2014, having a hand in 88 goals (58 goals, 30 assists) in 236 competitive appearances for the Basque country outfit.

The 25-year old is still eligible to play for Ghana, Liberia and Spain.