World Championship duel with brother Nico possible

    The Ghanaian Football Association fought for Iñaki Williams for a long time, the attacker from Athletic Club from Bilbao kept getting rejected, until the 28-year-old finally agreed a few months ago to play for his parents’ home country. Since then, Williams, who was born in Bilbao, has three international matches under coach Otto Addo. These games had to be enough for the right foot to find his way in the team until the World Cup. The opponents Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay are waiting there in Group H.

    For Williams, who is the second most valuable player in the Black Stars’ World Cup squad with a market value of €25 million, a trip to Ghana “changed everything”, as he said in an interview with the “Guardiansreported. “The coach called several times. They wanted to show me how interested they were in me, how much they liked me, and how good they thought I was. But I wasn’t sure until I traveled to Ghana with my parents, family and girlfriend this summer. We looked at the country, the family in Accra and Kumasi. It was so emotional, like the whole town was waiting for me when I got out of the car. It was amazing.”

    A conversation with his 90-year-old grandfather Richard made him change his mind once and for all. “I told him I could play for Ghana at the World Cup and what he thought of it. He immediately said he didn’t have long to live and dreamed of his grandson playing for Ghana. There was nothing left to think about,” added Williams, who is “very lucky” to have made the decision because it brings him closer to his roots and culture.

    World Cup 2022: The most valuable players per nation

    Akram Afif | Qatar | Al Sadd SC | Market value: €4 million

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    Squad value: €14.9m

    Keylor Navas | Costa Rica | PSG | Market value: €5 million

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    Squad value: €18.75m

    Sultan Al-Ghannam | Saudi Arabia | Al-Nassr FC | Market value: €2.5 million

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    Squad value: €25.2m

    Matthew Ryan | Australia | FC Copenhagen | Market value: €5 million

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    Squad value: €37.3m

    Mehdi Taremi | Iran | FC Porto | Market value: €20 million

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    Squad value: €59.53m

    Ellyes Skhiri | Tunisia | 1. FC Cologne | Market value: €13 million

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    Squad value: €62.4m

    Moises Caicedo | Ecuador | Brighton | Market value: €13 million

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    Squad value: €146.5m

    Daichi Kamada | Japan | Eintracht Frankfurt | Market value: €30 million

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    Squad value: €154m

    Frank Anguissa | Cameroon | SSC Napoli | Market value: €38 million

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    Squad value: €155m

    Ben Davis | Wales | Tottenham | Market value: €20 million*

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    Squad value: €160.15m
    *plus Brennan Johnson (Nottingham; MV €20m)

    Heung Min Son | South Korea | Tottenham | Market value: €70 million

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    Squad value: €164.48m

    Edson Alvarez | Mexico | ajax | Market value: €35 million

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    Squad value: €176.1m

    Alphonso Davies | Canada | Bayern Munich | Market value: €70 million

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    Squad value: €187.3m

    Thomas Partey | Ghana | Arsenal | Market value: €38 million

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    Squad value: €216.9m

    Kalidou Koulibaly | Senegal | Chelsea | Market value: €35 million

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    Squad value: €229.5m

    Achraf Hakimi | Morocco | PSG | Market value: €65 million

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    Squad value: €241.1m

    Robert Lewandowski | Poland | FC Barcelona | Market value: €45 million

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    Squad value: €255.6m

    Christian Pulisic | United States | Chelsea | Market value: €38 million

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    Squad value: €277.4m

    Manuel Akanji | Switzerland | Manchester City | Market value: €30 million

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    Squad value: €281m

    Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg | Denmark | Tottenham | Market value: €45 million

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    Squad value: €353m

    Dušan Vlahovic | Serbia | Juventus | Market value: €80 million

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    Squad value: €359.5m

    Josko Gvardiol | Croatia | RB Leipzig | Market value: €60 million

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    Squad value: €377 million

    Federico Valverde | Uruguay | Madrid | Market value: €100 million

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    Squad value: €449.7m

    Kevin De Bruyne | Belgium | Manchester City | Market value: €80 million

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    Squad value: €563.2m

    Matthijs de Ligt | Netherlands | Bayern Munich | Market value: €70 million

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    Squad value: €587.25m

    Lautaro Martinez | Argentina | Inter | Market value: €75 million

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    Squad value: €645.2m

    Peter | Spain | FC Barcelona | Market value: €100 million

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    Squad value: €877m

    Yamal Musiala | Germany | Bayern Munich | Market value: €100 million

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    Squad value: €885.5m

    Rafael Leao | Portugal | Milan | Market value: €85 million

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    Squad value: €937m

    Kylian Mbappe | France | PSG | Market value: €160 million

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    Squad value: €997.5m

    Vinicius Jr. | Brazil | Madrid | Market value: €120 million

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    Squad value: €1.14bn

    Phil Foden | UK | Manchester City | Market value: €110 million

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    Squad value: €1.26bn

    Williams doubts nomination: “Could miss important games for Athletic”

    Of course, the successful qualification of the “Black Stars” for the World Cup played a role in his decision even before the trip, but there were doubts about that elsewhere. “I don’t want to lie, that helped. But I still wasn’t sure. I could miss important games for Athletic, which could be a problem.” Williams hasn’t missed a game in LaLiga for over six years, making 247 straight appearances for the Basques in the Spanish top flight, a record-holder.

    In addition to wooing coach Addo and the federation’s president, whom he had dismissed in the past with the words “I feel Basque and can’t cheat,” Williams also sought talks with current and former players. “I spoke to the captains: Jordan (Ayew), Thomas (Partey) and Daniel Amartey. I wanted their opinions because I didn’t want to cause any problems and they were very receptive. Even people like Asamoah Gyan, Michael Essien and other icons have come forward and said that they would be happy if I came,” said the offensive man, whom everyone in the national team circles Kweku, “like my parents and my Ghanaian family. You get your name after the day you were born.”

    His family not only keeps their fingers crossed for Iñaki, but also for Nico (20) at the tournament. The younger brother is with Spain and came on 21 minutes in the 7-0 opener against Costa Rica. A duel between the siblings, who play together for Bilbao at the club, could wait in the quarter-finals at the earliest. “It would be incredible if two brothers could play each other at this level and I really hope that happens.”

    With RB Leipzig’s Olmo: Spain’s World Cup squad for Qatar

    26 Sergio Busquets – market value: €5m

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    Barcelona FC

    25 Jordi Alba – €5m

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    Barcelona FC

    24 Cesar Azpilicueta – €8m

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    Chelsea

    23 Alejandro Balde – €15m

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    Barcelona FC

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    Atlético Madrid

    21 Daniel Carvajal – €18m

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    real Madrid

    20 Eric Garcia – €18m

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    Barcelona FC

    19 Pablo Sarabia – €20m

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    PSG

    18 David Raya – €22m

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    Brentford

    17 Alvaro Morata – €25m

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    Atlético Madrid

    16 Unai Simon – €25m

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    Athletic Bilbao

    15 Marco Asensio – €25m

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    real Madrid

    14 Hugo Guillamón – €25m

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    Valencia

    13 Nico Williams – €25m

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    Athletic Bilbao

    12 Robert Sanchez – €35m

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    Brighton & Hove Albion

    11 Marcos Llorente – €35m

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    Atlético Madrid

    10 Carlos Soler – €35m

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    PSG

    9 Ferran Torres – €35m

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    Barcelona FC

    8 Aymeric Laporte – €38m

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    Manchester City

    7 Yéremy Pino – €38m

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    villa real

    6 Dani Olmo – €40m

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    RB Leipzig

    5 Pau Torres – €50m

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    villa real

    4 Ansu Fati – €50m

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    Barcelona FC

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    Manchester City

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    Barcelona FC

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    Barcelona FC

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