The transfer window has closed and there wasn’t too much movement that hadn’t been reported previously. Barca shipped out Bellerin and tried to bring in old friend Julian Araujo. They were able to sort of get Gavi registered as a senior team player. I’m a little sad that Bebe has moved on, if only because he and his story was the most “Rayo” of all the players in Vallecas. Sevilla look to be cleaning up their mess. In a random piece of business they acquired Bryan Gil on loan. He came up through the Sevilla youth system and was sold to Spurs for €25 million plus Erik Lámela, only to be loaned back 18 months later to Sevilla. I’m less worried about them being relegated and more concerned about Valencia. Gattuso has moved on and Los Che turned to Voro once again for their interim manager (is this like the tenth time he’s been in charge???).
There are two midweek games this week for teams who played in the Super Copa.Copa del Rey semifinal matchups are out and we get two Clásicos. On the other side there is a Basque-ish Derby, and either Osasuna or Athletic Club be in the final. Pamplona is part of the Basque Country if not the Basque Region.
I generally try to read Sid Lowe’s articles whenever I can, and I thought this week’s recap
was especially well written. You can sense the love for these hometown boys playing for their hometown clubs- Iñaki, Iago, Lucas Pérez. The bit about Iñaki Williams stands out, and I apologize for the long quote but it is from a free article.
“On Sunday evening, Iñaki Williams did not play for Athletic Bilbao. That’s: Iñaki Williams. And: Did. Not. Play. Instead, the footballer who had been on the pitch for every single league game
in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 sat at Balaidos and watched his teammates lose 1-0 to Celta de Vigo. It was the first time they had played without him since Málaga in April 2016, back when Corona was a beer, Trump hadn’t made America great again, and Britain was in Europe; when Real Madrid had only 10 European Cups and Málaga could just about aspire to play in one.
He was 21, a kid. Now his baby brother is in the team
. All that time: no temptation to leave, no injury, no illness, not one silly red, no suspension, no rest, no rotation, no manager leaving him out. No holding back either, no self-preservation: this guy was officially faster than anyone else, ask any five-year-old
. Ernesto Valverde was there at the start and, having gone away, won the league twice
and come back again, there at the end. Between Valverde’s two spells, there was Kuko Ziganda, Eduardo Berizzo, Gaizka Garitano and Marcelino Garcia Toral. They were different but they all agreed on one thing: Iñaki played.
And so he played every game for 251 games. Without stopping.
Until now. The son of Ghanaians who crossed the Sahara barefoot when his mother was pregnant, born in Bilbao (destiny, he calls it), named after the priest who looked after his family, called Kweku at home and in the national team he finally joined, granting his grandfather a final wish
, raised in Pamplona, a father for his brother, keeping both on the right path, Iñaki is a Basque who only wanted to play for Athletic. There is a photo you will have seen now: a tiny boy in a sparse flat and a red and white shirt. Wearing it once would have been something; scorer of the goal that gave Athletic their second trophy in 37 years
, he has worn it every week for almost seven years.”