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Andrés Iniesta exclusive interview with Marca



Andrés Iniesta held a detailed interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca recently. Below, you can find the whole interview. Original link to the article.

How is Iniesta experiencing the ‘coronavirus crisis’?

The last few weeks have been a bit weird, both professionally and personally. I am hoping that the days go by and everything go back to normal and that everything improves.”

Your documentary will be released shortly on Rakuten TV, how did you come up with the idea? Are you satisfied with the result?

Yes, of course, if I had not been satisfied it would not come out (laughs). All jokes aside, I am very happy with how everything went. There is a lot of effort that goes in behind the scenes: trips, interviews … the team has worked very well. I always had the idea there, but after writing the book it took a little more strength to make the documentary. Once in Japan, and with Rakuten’s help, it emerged with much more force and we got down to work.”

In the Barcelona documentary many internal details were seen, what ‘secrets’ does Andres reveal in this one?

It is difficult today to be surprised with something that is not known about me because if you put my name in Google, surely millions of things will come up, but it is true that there are situations that have not been explained or main characters who say something from another point of view either professionally or personally.

“There are people like my mother, my wife or Inma, the psychologist, who haven’t talked before and they do [in the documentary]. Seeing it, it felt like it’s short and it is difficult because there are things that I have always heard, but as my great friend Marcos says, the idea was also to surprise me, and they have succeeded.”

It seems that the coronavirus will put an end to the madness of the 100 million euro signings. What positive things can football take from this? Uli Hoeness recently said that football will never be the same again.

Without a doubt, this cannot be the same tomorrow as yesterday after everything we are experiencing at a global level, and at a society level. This is going to have a lot of connotations in every way. But from the bad and very bad we always draw strength or try to make these very negative things, especially as a society. It makes us see things differently and look at what is really important. We all have to realise what we do.

“What is happening is not an individual but a collective issue and there we measure the strength we have as human beings, partners or people with solidarity. It is going to teach us many things, but the pity is that it happened because many lives were lost.”

Iniesta interview marca
Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images
Your wish always was to play for Barcelona, but that dream started with many difficulties.

Well, I had difficulties of various kinds. On the one hand, the moment when I go to Barcelona where I suffer personally in the sense that I separate from my family at the age of 12 and they do too. It was difficult to carry on.

“On the other hand, once I got to the first team, I had a hard time making a spot for myself and having continuity in the first team with the competition there was. But always I trusted in myself and I got what I wanted.”

On the day you won a youth tournament, Guardiola handed you the trophy and said you would succeed.

At that moment he told me that years later he would be in the stands watching me play in the first team and he was right. In addition, he went further because he was my coach and we had unique moments at the club. It was a tremendous thing which we were able to experience. With my perspective now, it makes it even more funny to remember his words. It was just a kids’ game!”

Iniesta interview marca
After losing to Numancia and Racing Santander at the beginning of the Pep era, you went to his office and told him that everything would be ‘f*cking great’. Why did you feel it would be like this?

It is true that we came from a couple of pretty bad years. The club’s situation was not the best. He arrived in a delicate moment, but what he achieved in the first weeks he was with us was to transmit to us everything he wanted.

“There was a total confidence in [the team]. So, two negative results, considering where the club came from, those results undoubtedly raised doubts especially outside the dressing room. The only thing I wanted to convey to him was that people were delighted with what we were doing and that we had full confidence in doing it well.”

Ernesto Valverde says in the documentary that he will talk about Iniesta to his grandchildren, what opinion do you have of Ernesto? Do you think his dismissal was premature?

Unfortunately we have this situation that there is in football and we do not know how one thing or another will end. If, in the end, Barcelona win titles, nobody will say that the dismissal was premature. And, if it goes wrong, many will remember that situation and say yes. The clear thing is that it is not an easy decision for the club to make, but we understand that they always make them for the good of the club.”

Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP
Do you think that Josep Maria Bartomeu has been very weakened with the latest events?

There will be no doubts after the upcoming elections when the members or people will say if they are happy with everything that has been happening or not.”

What is happening to this Barcelona, that doesn’t have the freshness of yesteryear regarding their play?

To be honest, I always see Barcelona as a different team from the rest in the sense that I always see them as a team that have the same game style. Sometimes it turns out better, sometimes worse, but I still see it that way. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there all my life and I know what the players think. Every moment also has its situations and I do not see them as inferior to any other team.”

Do you think Quique Setien is achieving the ‘Johan Cruyff style’ that he loves so much?

To be honest, I always see Barcelona as a different team from the rest in the sense that I always see them as a team that have the same game style. Sometimes it turns out better, sometimes worse, but I still see it that way. Maybe it’s because I’ve been there all my life and I know what the players think. Every moment also has its situations and I do not see them as inferior to any other team.”

Photo by Pau Barrena / AFP

Ivan Rakitic looks like he will leave, and it doesn’t seem to be working out for Frenkie de Jong. Who should be in the midfield?

I don’t know. Comparisons are usually tedious. They are difficult to compare. I have always said that everything is going to be different from what the Catalans have in their head, but it does not have to be worse than what they have experienced. They are very good players and all Barcelona have to do is be clear about their playing style and, from there, look for players of their profile like those in the squad. De Jong has just arrived, he needs that adaptation period.”

Why is Antoine Griezmann having a hard time trying to gel?

It is a case similar to that of De Jong. Griezmann and the rest of the new players that arrive every year need time. They have enormous talent and will definitely end up triumphing and making a place for themselves in this team where it is not easy to play.”

Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP
What do you think of Barcelona’s new transfer policy, looking for promising youngsters like Gustavo Maia?

I always think that balance is what is good. Being able to anticipate signings that may be important in the future is welcome. The clubs try to be up to date without neglecting what you have in the academy, on which you must keep an eye on. It seems good to me that the club are aware of all that the market [offers]. It is important.”

Sergio Ramos says that you must be an example for both players and fans. How does it feel to be the only one who was always applauded in every game?

It is one of the best feelings or experiences that I was allowed to have as an athlete and person. It is something that I will always remember, it will always be in my heart. I am very grateful to the people who have treated me well.”

Why didn’t they do that in San Mames?

That is a question for the Athletic Club fans or for the fans who whistled at me in that case.”

Are you concerned about the situation in Spain?

From the outside the situation gives a sense of anguish, and concern. Luckily, we are all well here. We are looking forward to it ending quickly, and we are doing our part to make that happen. All I can do from here is send a message of encouragement, of strength. All the cities are practically empty and that is a fact of people’s solidarity. It shows that they have become involved and are aware of the situation that exists. Everyone should help to eliminate it, there is no other choice. Solidarity and support are needed.”

Your family are helping with donations in Albecete.

I am not a saviour, the important job is done by the professionals who are fighting on the front line and the rest of us can only collaborate and contribute to making their work even better. The important thing is not that one or the other comes out saying that they have made donations or not, the important thing is to have a clear conscience and that is what one tries.”

How do you evaluate your life in Japan? Do you miss David Villa?

We are happy in Japan and also for having ended last year winning the cup and having started this one by getting the super cup. We went into the Asian Champions League and won the first two games until it was stopped. I miss David, of course. We are very comfortable here, although now we have had to have this strange experience. In this city we have a really quiet life where we lack nothing, we enjoy family life and also the football.”

Iniesta interview marca
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
Do you see yourself extending your contract beyond 2021 when it ends?

We want to play again and make everyone happy again. We will see later. This break gives me some strength to try to extend my professional career, but now the only thing we are all thinking about is getting over this complicated situation. Football has been relegated to the background, but I try to stay physically strong for the time when we have to play again. We don’t know exactly when it will be.”

You recently told MARCA that you see yourself as a coach in the future. What has changed in your way of seeing football to think about that option? Which coaches from the present or from the past do you have as references?

The idea is still there but until I stop playing football it will be difficult for me to try to get my licence. Meanwhile, one tries to continue learning and to live situations that one can use to learn. As for the references, I have a small idea of the game that I want [my team to play], which is the one that I have always played at the same club. But we’ll see. There is still plenty of time for me to sit on a bench. When I am a coach, I will definitely see different things than what I see today as a player. Let’s see what is going to happen. For the moment we have to wait.”

Has your friend Xavi Hernandez encouraged you to start a coaching career?

I still talk a lot with him, also about being a coach. And obviously he has encouraged me to test it out and see if I like it. He is delighted that he is going to be a coach. For those of us who like football and think about it, in the end it is a situation that pleases and seduces in some way. I am glad for him in this new stage in his career, perhaps I may be in a similar situation in the future.”

Have you recently spoken to your ex-teammate Ronaldinho? He is not going through his best moment …

I have not spoken to him recently. The situation that we have all seen on TV and what he is experiencing in Paraguay obviously makes me sad, but I hope that it will be solved soon for the better.”

Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images
The European Championship has been postponed for a year. Which are Spain’s chances?

For me Spain will always be a favourite because of the players they have, the talent there is and because they combine a formula of experienced players with young players who are important in their teams. I think we have good continuity, I see great football players. Hopefully they will be fighting again for the best.

There is a squad to make it happen, but then we already know what these types of tournaments are like. You risk your life in every clash and it is very, very difficult to end up being the winter even if you have a great team as is the case. In the first round there are already difficult teams like Sweden or Poland.”

Do you dream of having a farewell national team game? How would you like it to be?

I would like it because it would be something special. But not only for me because many other players would also want a farewell match like that. I do not know if it will happen, the calendar is also complicated for everyone because it is very full. It is not easy for many players to come together. As for the place, I don’t know, maybe where I debuted, in Albacete. It would be great to complete the circle.”

Finally, can you imagine your life without being linked to football?

I visualise my life like this, closely linked to football because it is what I have done throughout my life. After that I do not know what will happen, but I would love to be able to continue being linked to the sport in some way or somewhere.

The closer to the ball the better because it is what I have been passionate about since I was born. Hopefully I can always be linked to football because I am one of those people who always has a ball at my feet.”

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