Nico Williams: “Football is now taking a step forward in the fight against racism”

Nico Williams: “Football is now taking a step forward in the fight against racism”

Nico Williams greets with a shyness that he hides behind that image of a modern kid with a look that unleashes passions. He attends El Periódico de España, from the Prensa Ibérica group, in a room next to the press room of the Ciudad de Fútbol de Las Rozas, once dinner has concluded on the first day of concentration. Spain has held an open-door training session that is becoming a happy custom since Luis de la Fuente is in charge, and Nico has been one of the most requested players by the kids who filled the stands at selfie time. .

He appears with his former teammate Iñigo Martínez, who also has scheduled interviews, and looks impressive in the tracksuit vintage which has just been presented by the sports brand that dresses the national team. Nico sits in a chair and starts the conversation with his arms crossed, an unmistakable sign, according to the canons of body language, that he is starting off on the defensive. Despite his shyness, he keeps his gaze on the interviewer and as the conversation progresses he loosens up. Her arms begin to move supporting the speech and the laughter, if there is any, is heartfelt and loud without reaching laughter. A smile appears on her lips when the episode is friendly, but when the topic becomes serious, her jaw squares to give more solemnity to what she says. Her communication advisor also relaxes when she sees that the conversation is flowing and at the end the interview closes with a much firmer handshake than the initial one. Nico is no longer Iñaki’s brother.

Moment of the EL PERIÓDICO DE ESPAÑA interview with Nico Williams. RFEF

Athletic has 7 of the last 9 points, They come from beating Celta 4-3 in a crazy match in which you scored and distributed assists.

Treat me like you, I’m 21 years old, please.

You arrive in a great moment of form to this call.

I feel very good. I think that this season I am making a leap in quality, I am growing as a footballer, which is what I work for every day. The coach asks me to give more assists, not just to finish, and I am at that stage. And reaching the national team like this is great news for me.

How do you feel about becoming one of the centers of attention of your club?

At first it is a little difficult because it is an added pressure, but the competitive player likes that pressure. He likes to take on that role. I like it because I want to help the team and have people talk about me for it.

You and Oihan Sancet are here, but Vivian and Guruzeta have also taken the leap. The new batch has already settled in Athletic.

A very good litter is coming in Athletic. In the end we have ‘Guru’, with whom I understand each other wonderfully. What can I tell you about him? We call him Benzema and for me he is essential because he creates many spaces for me. I think that people don’t value him as a forward, they pay more attention to the goals he scores, but for both me and my brother he offers us an incredible amount of space behind defenses because he moves and associates with the players. interiors. And that makes Iñaki and me better. Regarding Vivian, I think he is taking the role of center back very seriously and I encourage him to continue like this because he is going to be one of the best center backs in the League. What do you want me to tell you about Oihan, he is a great player.

Interview with Luis de la Fuente: “I knew I had the support of the players from day one”

We are talking about Athletic, but Real Sociedad has five players in the national team, Osasuna also brings players… Is northern football in fashion?

Basque football is taking enormous steps. When I was a child in the national team there were mostly players from Real Madrid and Barcelona. Now there is more from Real, Athletic, Osasuna… We must continue like this and also the message that this team sends is very good: it doesn’t matter which team you come from, if you are good and work, you can get there. I hope that spectacular players continue to come out of Euskadi and make it to the national team.

Nico, at 21 years old you have played in a World Cup, won a Nations League and you are on your way to your first European Championship. This goes very fast, doesn’t it?

Fast is not enough. The truth is that you don’t fully assimilate it. Everything comes to you so quickly that you don’t realize everything that happens to you. And the reality is that I am living a dream. I can not ask for more. I am very proud of myself and making my friends, parents and people close to me proud of what I am doing. Furthermore, I am working to be able to give more of myself, to be able to go up one more step and, above all, take advantage of this privileged situation that I have around me, such as being here in the national team, and work harder on a daily basis.

How important is it to be well surrounded in these dizzying moments for a young footballer?

It’s fundamental. They help me a lot. I have my brother, who is very above me, or De Marcos, who is very above all the young people like Oihan, like Adu Ares, like Unai Gómez, like me… They are very attentive to us and that is appreciated because You have someone experienced on the team who tells you: “Hey kid, get off, you’re going too far.” And that is very necessary. I owe my life to my brother because without him I would not be what I am today.

Do you see yourself playing in Europe with Athletic?

Clear. In the Athletic locker room they talk about Europe. We have the ambition of achieving that great prize of playing in the Europa League or the Champions League, because we don’t put a ceiling on ourselves, and we want to be up there. I think that if we continue at this pace we will achieve it, but we have to go game by game, step by step. It is not easy at all because Girona is there first, there is Madrid, Atlético, Barcelona… They are very strong teams and we have to continue working and climb that step that allows us to take the leap in quality.

¿Ves Michel’s Girona winning the League?

It would be very nice to see it. In 2016 we saw Leicester win the Premier League. And here it would be nice, but let’s see how long they last. They are doing an incredible job, they play very attractive football to watch and very combinative. I hope they continue like this.

Nico Williams poses with the national team polo in one of the calls. EFE

We get serious. On June 30, your contract with Athletic ends and you have become one of the most coveted signings by the big teams in the League and the Premier. Have you made a decision yet?

That big teams like Barça, Madrid or clubs in England are watching me means that I am doing my job well. I am clear about the decision I want to make, but in the end this is something that my representatives have, who have been with me since I was 11 years old. And there are my parents, my brother… We’ll see, but I’m very calm and I want to stay that way.

You talk about the decision and your family, your brother, your representatives… Will it be Nico’s decision or will it be something consensual?

It will be everyone’s decision, it’s not just me. There are also my family, there are my friends, my representatives… It is not just a question of Nico because in the end the family is very important to me and has a decisive role in this decision.

One last thing on this, will you communicate the decision in time so that it does not interfere with the end of the League and the Euro Cup, or will I ask you again in Germany about your future?

In the end I don’t like the noise either. I don’t like people speaking lies, generating rumors that aren’t true. People talk a lot and that makes me uncomfortable. I think it will be known sooner rather than later, but it will be known and I think that will leave us all calm. We have not set a deadline, but we are following some guidelines that we have set for ourselves. As I have told you, I am calm, these are things that my representatives are carrying out and I want it to remain that way.

Let’s change the subject. You have been the player who has meant the most, along with Vinicius, against racism on the football fields. Are we moving forward with that or are we still where we were?

The truth is that I am very grateful, especially to the League and the clubs because they are quickly identifying these… people or whatever, that I don’t even know how to classify them. Football is taking a step forward now in the fight against racism and those who insult on the fields are quickly identified. Players of any race or culture feel more protected and I think we are making progress in this regard. I hope it continues like this.

Is racism a football problem or is it a social pandemic?

I have always said that no child is born racist. This is part of the education that your parents give you. The environment you have is very important to see how a child will behave when he or she grows up. Children do what they see adults do and the education they are given is key in that. I hope that little by little we will make progress on this. I know that it will be very difficult to end it, but I hope that we continue to move forward because it is a task in which we must all get involved to achieve a more diverse and tolerant society in which we can live together without problems. And football fields are a mirror of society.

Let’s talk about something more comforting. A veteran told me the other day that he had never seen such a good atmosphere in the national team.

I have always said that from the first day I arrived at the national team I have felt that it is a family. They have welcomed me as one of their own and I feel loved in the locker room. There are many jokes, many gestures of true camaraderie, a great atmosphere… Everyone comes from their club, we see each other every month or two months and in the end it is not easy to have that rapport. But I think the coaches and the staff have done wonderfully and we have that incredible atmosphere and we all enjoy it.

Does the Nations League title have anything to do with this good atmosphere?

The Nations League title is a consequence of this, without a doubt, because when a team is a team, the teammate is a friend and you fight harder for the friend next to you. And I think that’s what characterizes us. There are good people here and the atmosphere is very familiar.

The last one, does Spain assume the role of candidate to win the Euro Cup or does it prefer to go undercover?

Spain is a candidate for the Euro Cup, of course. We have an incredible team, we have quality, we have rhythm… We have everything it takes to win it, but we have to go step by step and focus first on winning the games against Cyprus and Georgia to finish as group leaders and be seeded. . But I am optimistic and I believe that we can achieve that great title. And the rivals know it.

2023-11-14 11:29:28
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