Bilbao going to face two Copa del Rey finals in two weeks
That will be the 2019-20 final, which was delayed by a year due to the ongoing pandemic coronavirus pandemic in the hope fans would be allowed to attend, though it will now go ahead in Seville without supporters.
The club’s last success in the competition came in 1984 as part of a domestic double but they can end that 37-year wait on Saturday against Basque neighbors Real Sociedad.
The Catalan giants were on the brink of a record-extending 13th triumph in the competition after Antoine Griezmann scored twice, either side of Oscar De Marcos’ equaliser, to put Barcelona 2-1 up late on in normal time but lost to bilbao 3-2 in extra time.
Athletic Bilbao will take on Barcelona on 17 April 2021 in this season’s final of Copa del Rey, having already beaten the Catalan giants to win the Supercopa in January.
Inaki Williams recalls the days he would observe adolescents preparing at Athletic Bilbao’s extremely popular Lezama institute and dream of representing the club he loved.
Bizi Ametsa 🏆🤞🏿 pic.twitter.com/G0OH7vb9bX
— IÑAKI WILLIAMS (@Williaaams45) March 30, 2021
Now the forward, whose own chance at Lezama arrived when he was 18, has the opportunity to help his boyhood team win the Copa del Rey twice in as many weeks.
“For anybody born in Bilbao or the surrounding areas, the main dream that children have is to end up playing for Athletic Bilbao,” says the 26-year-old.
“I have been very fortunate because this dream has come true. Now I have the possibility of winning two titles, of making Athletic Bilbao become a champion.”
Williams grew up dreaming of playing in ‘The Cathedral’, the club’s original San Mames stadium, having been born in Bilbao shortly after his parents arrived from Ghana.
The forward, on a club-record run of 185 consecutive games in La Liga, has spoken about spending his whole career with Athletic and is proud to see the city decked in red and white in the build-up to their upcoming finals.
“Marcelino was deeply impressed by the fact we are not only a team but a family too,” says Williams, whose 18-year-old brother, Nico, is also at the club.
“We try to avoid any problems on the pitch or training rooms. They are friends more than colleagues.
“It is something you are taught from a very young age and it makes us feel very excited to wear the badge of Athletic Bilbao on your shirt.”
Marcelino, who won the Copa del Rey in 2019 with Valencia, feels that sense of unity makes his side dangerous, though he would like to improve on their position of ninth in La Liga.
“We are talking about a unique changing room where people are united, all of them are working hard and all of them form part of the organization,” says Marcelino.
“Many of them have known each other since they were children, they have progressed over the years and their relatives know each other because they went through different teams at Lezama, the academy.
“All of the players have that feeling of belonging, that they belong to the club where they arrived many years ago and now they are enjoying the dreams they had as children.”