Iker Muniain Goñi (Basque: [iker muniain ɡoɲi], Spanish: [ˈikeɾ muˈnjaiŋ ˈɡoɲi];[a] born 19 December 1992) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Athletic Bilbao and the Spain national team mainly as a left winger.
Muniain playing for Athletic Bilbao in 2014
|Full name||Iker Muniain Goñi|
|Date of birth||19 December 1992|
|Place of birth||Pamplona, Spain|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Winger / Forward|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 May 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:17, 26 March 2019 (UTC)
Due to his style of play and stature, he was dubbed "the Spanish Messi" by the media. He has spent all of his professional career with Athletic Bilbao after debuting in 2009 as their youngest player in a competitive match, making over 380 appearances for the club and reaching the finals of the Copa del Rey and Europa League in 2012.
Muniain made 59 appearances for Spain at youth level, winning the European Under-21 Championship in 2011 and 2013. He also featured at the 2012 Olympics, in the same year as his senior international debut.
Born in Pamplona, Navarre, Muniain was a product of Basque giants Athletic Bilbao's youth ranks after joining at the age of 12. In January 2009 he made his debut for the reserve team Bilbao Athletic in the Segunda División B championship, aged 16 years and 16 days, and scored his first goal at that level 19 days later.
Muniain made his first-team debut on 30 July 2009, in a UEFA Europa League qualifying match against BSC Young Boys: he entered the field as a 59th-minute substitute for Gaizka Toquero in an eventual 0–1 home defeat, thus becoming the youngest player in 94 years to wear Athletic's shirt in an official game at 16 years, 7 months and 11 days old, only behind Domingo Acedo who scored on his debut in 1914. One week later, in the return leg in Switzerland, he netted his first goal, in a 2–1 win that qualified for the playoff rounds; he again entered the club's record books as the joint-second-youngest player to find the net (16 years, 7 months and 18 days) in a competitive match – behind Acedo and level with Agustín Gaínza– and the youngest ever in a European match.
On 30 August 2009 another record fell, as Muniain started in the 1–0 home win against RCD Espanyol, 2009–10's opener, becoming the youngest player to have donned the club's shirt in La Liga (overtaking Patxi Ferreira). Two weeks later he scored again in European competition, 3–0 at home against FK Austria Wien, after a good team move involving Andoni Iraola and veteran Joseba Etxeberria.
On 4 October 2009, Muniain became the youngest player to score in a first division match as he netted in a 2–2 draw at Real Valladolid, aged 16 years and 289 days– that record was surpassed by Málaga CF's Fabrice Olinga in August 2012. On 1 December he signed his first professional contract with Athletic, running until June 2015. On the 6th, after nearly one month out due to injury, he returned to action, scoring as a 51st-minute substitute to give Athletic the lead, albeit in a 1–2 loss to Valencia CF; he set up both of his team's goals in the next game, a 2–1 win at Real Zaragoza, and finished his first senior season with 35 appearances and six goals across all competitions.
Muniain was an undisputed starter in the 2010–11 campaign, featuring as a left winger for the Joaquín Caparrós-led side. On 17 April 2011 he scored a last-minute goal in a 2–1 away win against hometown club CA Osasuna, helping his team come from behind; he was initially booked for taking his hand to his ear during his celebrations (before signing for Athletic he played for UDC Chantrea in Pamplona, and always considered Osasuna a rival organisation) which meant a suspension for his fifth yellow card of the season, but it was later lifted; now allowed to take part in the following matchday, the derby against Real Sociedad, he netted another, in a 2–1 home success.
Muniain appeared in 58 contests overall in 2011–12, scoring on nine occasions as the Lions reached both the Europa League and the Copa del Rey finals. He scored just once in 33 league appearances in the following campaign, netting the only goal on 10 March 2013 in a home win over Valencia which eased doubts over a possible relegation battle. On 1 December 2013 he was again the sole name on the scoresheet at the new San Mamés Stadium, to hand FC Barcelona its first league loss of that season; eighteen days later he celebrated his 21st birthday by grabbing a brace in a 4–0 domestic cup home win over RC Celta de Vigo, which signified his team progressed through to the round-of-16 4–1 on aggregate.
On 4 April 2015, during a game against Sevilla FC, Muniain suffered the first serious injury of his career, being sidelined for several months with an anterior cruciate ligament ailment to his left knee– this meant he was unable to take any part in the year's Spanish Cup or Spanish Supercup finals. After suffering some setbacks in his recovery process he returned to action on 20 December, replacing Iñaki Williams for the last minutes of a 2–0 home win over Levante UD.
Muniain successfully regained his first-team place in December 2015 and made 86 further appearances between then and 28 September 2017, when he suffered another serious ACL injury (this time to his right knee) in the closing stages of a Europa League fixture at home to FC Zorya Luhansk, potentially ending his season. After an absence of just over six months, he returned to action as a substitute in a domestic league match against Villarreal CF on 9 April 2018, scoring his side's third in a 3–1 away victory.
On 8 February 2011, at the age of only 18, Muniain made his debut with the Spain under-21 team in a match against Denmark, replacing Adrián López. Subsequently, he was selected by manager Luis Milla to the squad that appeared in the 2011 UEFA European Championship, appearing in all the games as the nation won its third title in the category and qualified to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
On 24 February 2012, Muniain was called up to the senior side for the first time, for a friendly with Venezuela. Five days later, he came on for Cesc Fàbregas in the 74th minute of the 5–0 win in Málaga. Later that year, at the Summer Olympic Games in London, he made two appearances as Spain exited in the group stage without scoring a goal.
Muniain earned 31 caps for the under-21s, which was a national record for three years before being surpassed by Gerard Deulofeu. In 2019, after showing fine form for his club, he was selected in the senior squad for two UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches; he made his second appearance more than seven years after the first, as well as his competitive debut, as a substitute in a 2–0 win over Malta on 26 March.
Muniain has two older cousins who are also footballers, were both Athletic youth players and were briefly his teammates at Bilbao Athletic. Adrien Goñi, a midfielder, made a handful of first-team appearances before embarking on a career in the Spanish third level; winger Julen Goñi eventually moved to Barakaldo CF also in that tier, but departed when they were relegated and did not find another club at that level.
Muniain's son was born in February 2015, with the player announcing his girlfriend's pregnancy in August 2014 by gesturing while celebrating his goal against S.S.C. Napoli in the play-off of the UEFA Champions League. He is an admirer of Sergio Agüero, and named his pet Labrador Kun after the Argentina international; Muniain's own nickname, Bart Simpson, was given to him by Fernando Amorebieta due to his mischievous personality as well as his diminutive stature and fair hair.
Having vowed to have the Europa League trophy tattooed on his body if Athletic Bilbao won the 2012 final, which did not happen, Muniain did have the Supercopa de España trophy 'inked' on his leg in 2015 following the team's victory (albeit he took no part in the matches due to injury). Another tattoo on the rear of his neck, XIX, (19 in roman numerals) refers to his birth date and that of his brother, and was his original Athletic squad number for several seasons although he wore 27 as a promoted youth player in his breakthrough campaign, and in 2016 changed to the traditional playmaker's number 10.
|Bilbao Athletic||2008–09||Segunda División B||13||1||–||–||–||13||1|
|Athletic Bilbao||2009–10||La Liga||26||4||0||0||9||2||0||0||35||6|
- As of 26 March 2019
- "Iker Muniain". Athletic Bilbao. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
- "Manchester United given go-ahead to sign the "New Messi"". Sports Vibe. 19 October 2011. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "Muniain alcanza los 19" [Muniain reaches 19]. Marca (in Spanish). 19 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- "Burgui & Muni". El País (in Spanish). 9 January 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
- "Muniain – 2008–09 season". Athletic Bilbao. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
- "El Young Boys toma La Catedral" [Young Boys take The Cathedral]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 30 July 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Iker Muniain, con 16 años, se convierte en el segundo jugador más joven en debutar con el Athletic" [Iker Muniain, 16, becomes the second youngest player to debut with Athletic] (in Spanish). Europa Press. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "Muniain se cita con la historia" [Muniain has an appointment with history]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 30 July 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "Spirit shows through on exciting night". UEFA. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
- "Muniain, el más joven en marcar con el Athletic" [Muniain, the youngest to score for Athletic]. Marca (in Spanish). 6 August 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- "Muniain ya es el león más joven en la historia de la Liga" [Muniain is now the youngest lion in the history of the League]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 1 September 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
- "Muniaín to the fore for brilliant Bilbao". ESPN Soccernet. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "Athletic Bilbao prodigy Iker Muniaín becomes Primera Division's youngest ever goalscorer". Goal. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- "Valladolid and Bilbao share thriller". ESPN Soccernet. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2009.
- "Muniain se queda sin el récord de goleador más joven de la Liga" [Muniain loses the League's youngest scorer record] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 19 August 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- "Muniaín signs Athletic deal". FIFA. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- "El Athletic firma el finiquito de Marcelino" [Marcelino runs out of credit courtesy of Athletic]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 13 December 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Last-gasp Athletic rattle Rojillos". ESPN Soccernet. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Muniain:"Soy del Athletic desde siempre, Osasuna nunca me ha dado nada"" [Muniain: "I've always been from Athletic, Osasuna has never given me anything"]. El Correo (in Spanish). 25 November 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- "El Athletic recurrirá ante el CEDD la tarjeta de Muniaín y solicitará la suspensión cautelar de la sanción" [Athletic to appeal CEDD on Muniaín yellow card, asking for temporary suspension lift] (in Spanish). Europa Press. 20 April 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Athletic claim derby spoils". ESPN Soccernet. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- "Muniain promete tatuarse la copa de la Liga Europa si gana la final" [Muniain promises to tattoo Europa League cup if he wins final]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 3 May 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "El Athletic abate a un buen Valencia" [Athletic down a good Valencia] (in Spanish). RTVE. 10 March 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
- "Barca stunned by Muniain". ESPN FC. 1 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- "Muniain aúpa al Athletic a octavos" [Muniain puts Athletic in last-16]. Marca (in Spanish). 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "Muniain estará siete meses de baja" [Muniain to miss seven months]. Marca (in Spanish). 7 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Iker Muniain: "La lesión me ha enseñado a valorar el día a día"" [Iker Muniain: "The injury has taught me to appreciate every day"]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 23 October 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "Se retrasa la reaparición de Muniain" [Muniain return delayed] (in Spanish). Cadena SER. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Se retrasa, otra vez, el regreso de Muniain" [Muniain return delayed, again]. Marca (in Spanish). 16 November 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "El Athletic gana con solvencia al colista y se coloca séptimo" [Athletic defeat bottom-placed easily and rank seventh]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 20 December 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Muniain to miss up to eight months after knee injury". Marca. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
- "Villarreal slump to 3-1 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga". Sky Sports. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
- "Renewal of Iker Muniain". Athletic Bilbao. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
- "España sub-21, campeona de Europa: El ciclo continúa" [Spain under-21, European champion: The cycle continues] (in Spanish). Diarios de Fútbol. 25 June 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- "Euro 2012 trio Mata, Alba & Martinez in Spain Olympic squad". BBC Sport. 5 July 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
- "Celestiales" [Heavenly]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Spain 0–0 Morocco: La Roja fail to fire again to finish bottom of Olympics Group D". Goal. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- "Muniain se despide de la selección sub-21" [Muniain bids farewell to under-21 national team] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 8 November 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
- "Official: Call-up for the first two EURO Qualifier matches". Royal Spanish Football Federation. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
- "Euro 2020 qualifying: Alvaro Morata helps Spain edge past Malta". BBC Sport. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- "Catalunya 0–1 Euskal Selekzioa" [Catalonia 0–1 Basque XI] (in Spanish). Basque Football Federation. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
- "Deportivo B 3–4 Bilbao Athletic". Athletic Bilbao. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Iker Muniain: 'El Messi del Botxo'" [Iker Muniain: 'The Messi from Botxo']. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 31 March 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Julen Goñi recala en el Tudelano y Sendoa sigue en Cuenca" [Julen Goñi joins Tudelano and Sendoa remains in Cuenca] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Adrien Goñi: "La Roda tiene que seguir con esta actitud"" [Goñi: La Roda must continue this attitude] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "La Chantrea, el mejor vivero, es del Athletic" [La Chantrea, the best nursery, belongs to Athletic]. El Diario Vasco (in Spanish). 10 February 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Julen Goñi regresa al fútbol: UD Logroñés o Txantrea le servirán de lanzadera" [Julen Goñi returns to football: UD Logroñés or Txantrea will act as his trampoline] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Iker Muniain ya es aita" [Iker Muniain is already a father]. El Correo (in Spanish). 22 February 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- "Iker Muniain: El futbolista 'explosivo' necesita chispa" [Iker Muniain: The 'explosive' footballer needs a spark]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 16 January 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Iker Muniain celebrated Bilbao's Super Cup win with some ink". Tattoodo. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- "Foto: los tatuajes de Iker Muniain" [Photo: the tattoos of Iker Muniain] (in Spanish). Sportyou. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- "Muniain: "Escogí el 19 en homenaje a mis padres"" [Muniain: "I chose the 19 in honor of my parents"] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- "Muniain lucirá el 10 en la camiseta rojiblanca" [Muniain will wear 10 on the red and white shirt]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 17 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
- "Muniain". Soccerway. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- Refers to the UEFA Europa League, except where specified.
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup.
- 7 appearances in the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League, 2 in the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League .
- Goal in the 2014–15 UEFA Champions League .
- "Iker Muniain candidato de nuevo al 'Golden Boy'" [Muniain again a candidate for 'Golden Boy'] (in Spanish). El Desmarque. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2017.