Iñigo Muñoz (6-12-96), a fast and elusive winger, was hardened by Danok Bat, Somorrostro and Gernika before stepping on Lezama, joining Bilbao Athletic and making his first team debut in a Cup match against Formentera. He passed through Castellón, promoted to Second, and now triumphs in Unionistas, a unique club that does not rule out anything in this First RFEF. This Friday he will step on the rojiblanca factory again, where he will be very well protected by his closest circle: «My friends will go with Unionistas, they are the best friends in the world. From Saturday they will go again with Athletic », he points out in an interview for EL CORREO.
– How is this Unionistas, whom you chose as your destination, ruling out other options?
– Yes, last season I landed in January, just a week before Filomena. Yes, I had several options to choose from, but Unionistas was a good project on a personal level to continue playing football, something that I did not have in those last months at Castellón and that was the decision. In addition, Hernán Pérez, then coach, knew me and knew what I could offer him.
– He signed that last winter market from Castellón and they stayed one point from the playoff for promotion to the SmartBank League against all odds, with Zamora CF sneaking in at the last minute …
– When I got to Unionistas they were well placed in the table, but there were many days left and we reached the last game playing a promotion playoff spot. We didn’t go in, it was a bit of a disappointment, but looking back, you do appreciate what we got.
– He was promoted to Second with Castellón, in his best feat, apart from making his debut with Athletic in the Cup in Formentera in October 2017 together with central defender Óscar Gil, now enrolled in SD Amorebieta.
– On a personal level, yes, that promotion was a great moment, in addition to that debut with Athletic, apart from the other moments with Athletic that I enjoyed a lot. In that promotion playoff I had the opportunity to play as a starter in two of the three games, being an important piece and, therefore, you enjoy it even more.
– What happens is that they barely gave him a ball in Second in Castalia.
– That’s a coaching thing. When going up in the category, there were already forecasts and players of a higher category and that was where the decisions of the coaches and the sports director entered. Yes, I still have that thorn from not having been able to help more in that second stage at Castellón. But I have very good memories of that journey there.
– More than 110 matches in Second B at the service of Unionistas, what does the new Mister Dani Mori ask of you regarding Hernán Pérez?
– Mori asks me for something concrete, she knows that I can face and hurt up; I have the ability to defend and help the winger. Mori values very much that he can give offensive and defensive variants when he requires it, and he also trusts me playing in intermediate positions, not so high. The first two days I have played as a left winger, the third as a right winger, and in the preseason, at times, he has tried me as a winger, or as a winger.
– A Unionists with 2,617 partners who push them, with collaborators in the field and a unique management.
– It is a family club, there are not many stopovers here. Here, the president greets you as the coach or the sports director can do, who makes everything come together, that we are close to all levels. It is a different club. Unionistas are taking giant steps in recent years. We have started well and we are immersed in a First RFEF that is very attractive for the players, which is a showcase, and for the club.
– Is the return to Lezama special for Muñoz this Friday?
– Yes, it is very special. Above is the first time that I return to Lezama after leaving there. The colleagues, technicians and assistants who made my life very easy there. It’s very nice, my family, friends and acquaintances from Bilbao will come to see me.
– From his time at Bilbao Athletic, only Jon Sillero and Víctor San Bartolomé remain on the squad …
– Both and Iru, who sometimes trained with us.
– The first team did coincide with several in that subsidiary.
– Vivian, Zarraga, Sancet, Vencedor, Morcillo, Unai Simón … Those who are in Bilbao Athletic is because they are one step away from going up, although it is very difficult. And all these are already settled above it is not because nobody has given it to them. There are examples of very good players who are not there, and that will be for something.
– What did Iñigo Muñoz lack to accompany these lions?
– Well … you never know that, they are stages. I was left with the thorn in that I spent time injured at that stage, right at my best, when I was very well. And I had quite a few relapses. But you never know the reason or what could have happened.
– Gaizka Larrazabal, now in SD Amorebieta after passing through Real Zaragoza, snatched the position of far right …
If you get injured, you have a bad month …, they pass you on the right, on the left and on all sides, it is normal. If it had been the other way around, I would be delighted. That is soccer and sport.
– What players do you like from the current rojiblanco subsidiary that is being measured this Friday?
– I really like Artola, a different player. Also Prados, gives a balance to the team, and on top Nico Serrano, who is almost in the first team. In general, he has a very good squad and we are going to sweat a lot.
– Crossed balls from set pieces are penalizing Bilbao Athletic. Both Racing de Ferrol and Cultural Leonesa squeezed them in that chapter.
– Yes, there are the data and the goals that he has conceded. It is surely its weakest point, but each game is different.
– Your teammate Rayco has already scored three goals in the league, is he that good?
– Yes, it is very good, it has come from Deportivo, so it cannot be bad. I have a lot of relationship with him, he has a lot of quality and he is now with that flower that puts everything he touches. We must take advantage of it.
– Unionistas is now second with 7 points in this Group 1 …., what is the ceiling of your team?
– Our goal is to maintain the category, not to be at the top because we know the teams in front of us, but we are going to leave everything in each game and who knows what may happen in the future. The schedule is very tough. Now, Bilbao Athletic, next week, Deportivo, teams of great players, with bigger budgets than Unionistas who, in theory, have to stay ahead. But the beauty of football is that it is not always like that.
– What does the Imanol de la Sota subsidiary have to fear from his team?
– What Bilbao Athletic has to fear is that we are a very humble and very familiar team, which is reflected on the field. We are not going to give a ball for lost. Being second in the table is amazing, nobody has given it to us. We have played against three very important rivals, of a lot of category, and we have stood up to them.
– Do you notice the rush in the city with UD Salamanca?
– Well, there is always a bite, I imagine, among the fans, but I don’t dare to get involved there. I’ve been here a short time …
– There he runs into other Biscayan footballers with projection such as Murua and Ribeiro, now members of UD Salamanca …
– Yes, with Javi Murua I played a year in the subsidiary and I have a relationship. I already told you that I would advise you on the flat and the city. We have met in Salamanca a couple of times. I don’t know Ribeiro, I do know his father (Armando) with whom I met at Bilbao Athletic as goalkeeping coach.
– What does Iñigo Muñoz, only 24 years old, expect from his immediate future?
– My idea is to have a very good year, think about now, about playing as I am doing now, which I think is good. And that Unionistas do better, that the focus be bigger. That is the near future, trying every game to get away and get the attention of more people.
– This Friday his full Bilbao squad, who are very Athletic, go up to the Lezama factory. They are already mobilizing to get their tickets. What they say?
– On Friday they will go with Unionistas, wherever I go I have the best friends in the world. They ask me for t-shirts. As of Saturday they will go again with Athletic.