Ehe Movempick hotel in Riyadh is the headquarters of the Athletic in this Super Cup. There they celebrated the victory against Atlético, there they are preparing for the final against Real Madrid. There, in addition to the heroes who wear shorts, shines Maria. It is Ghana. Smile nonstop. His eyes shine. He is happy. Is the williams’ mother, Iaki and the little one Nico, the hero of the semi-final.
Mara caters to MARK exclusively to explain how he experienced his youngest son’s goal. But he told much more. its origins. How difficult it was for them to reach the elite… and for her and her husband, Flix, to overcome the hardships of their country of origin to make Bilbao their second home. By the way, also, to see how his children climbed the lower categories of Athletic to the first team. But first, he narrates how he experienced Nico’s decisive 2-1 against Atltico.
“I get very nervous. At first, nervous. When the ball goes in, I jump, I sing. I get very happy,” she tells this newspaper, remembering the first goal… and what she said to Nico: “You deserve it. After the game he came to hug me. I told him ‘you have to keep going. Arrive, like your brother. You have to pay attention to him. Learn from him and not throw in the towel'”.
The relationship between the two brothers is fundamental. Iaki has helped Nico a lot, a lot, on his way to the elite: “Iaki is very proud that he has scored the first goal in this Super Cup. He is very proud. Me too. I am proud of both of them. I start to cry. The things that have happened are not easy. Two brothers together. Thank God I ask you to continue like this. I am proud of both of them. Iaki has done a lot for Nico. It is something that Iaki has not had. He always told his brother that he supports him, that he likes them to score goals. At home he gives advice and Nico listens. May God bless you both and work hard”, affirms the happiest woman in Riyadh. At least, one of the happiest.
Iaki told me when I was 14 years old that I was not going to suffer anymore, that I was going to be a footballer
María knows that the road has been difficult. As well as how complicated it has been to eliminate Simeone’s Atlético: “It’s not easy to beat Atltico. This goal by Nico… I don’t even know what I’m doing. There is an incredible thing. It has worked very well. You scored, all good. Iaki did it last year with the Bara. I am very proud of both of them. If they let me sleep with them. I’m very happy. They have to continue like this, God help them. That they do everything right, as a mother… it’s an incredible thing.”
The final against Madrid
On the horizon, on Sunday, Madrid appears as a rival. The protagonist visualizes it without a doubt: “God willing we are going to beat Madrid. Whatever. I hope one or the other scores, a Williams. I belong to everyone, to the fans, to the team. Let us take the cup to Bilbao. fans are very proud of the team”.
That is the future, albeit imminent. Now it’s time to talk about the past. It wasn’t always easy. Not much less: “Iaki, two years old, with the Athletic shirt that his godfather bought him, celebrated the goals. He even haggled for his shoes, I knew he was going to be a footballer. A man from the neighborhood took him to train with four years old, his name is Julio. It’s very difficult to get there. But you have to support your children when they start. At eight years old, Iaki used to cry if he couldn’t go to training. At the age of 14, he told me that he was not going to suffer anymore and that he was going to be a footballer. And first division. To avoid the suffering that I and his dad live. Now it has arrived.”
His life, as written, was never easy. Not a scar remains from it. At least, it is not shown in this report by someone who prefers to face life with optimism: “We never look back. Always forward. Things that have happened… have happened. Iaki does too. I am very proud of him. He listens to his father, to his mother. He loves his brother, his family, his friends. It is very difficult to arrive. Out of 100 people, five arrive… imagine two brothers together. It’s not easy. I am very proud and happy for them.”
The childhood. That time when dreams are forged… and personalities. In the case of María, she explains how the Williams case was: “Nico gave a lot of trouble, but he listened to me. If I got angry he asked for forgiveness. He listens to me a lot. Yes, I broke a lot of things. The television… was yelling at them. What if they messed up? I don’t remember any. They were good and respectful children”. A childhood in which he does not forget the role of Athletic: “Athletic has helped him a lot to grow up. They give you advice. I can’t say names, there are many. Everyone has given him advice. Proud of them. They have helped both of them a lot. Growing up like this… I thank you.”
The dream of the Spanish team
Finally, a dream. La Roja, play the World Cup in Qatar: “Her dream is the national team. That she call both of us. We could all be very happy. I hope it happens and that Spain wins the World Cup. She would be a great striker… and Nico plays with both legs. Although he is a bug, but he is good. He does very good things”. Qatar World Cup: “My mother. If Luis Enrique calls them… what pride. We will thank you. I hope that Spain wins the cup”, before launching a warning about how he would celebrate a title in Riyadh with so much of one of his children: “He is not ready yet. When we beat Attico I went into the pool with my clothes. If they win I’m thinking what to do. We will all come back healthy.”