Image: Andres Iniesta in action for Spain at Euro 2016.Iniesta says he's aware of the Spain fans calling for him to win the most coveted football award signifying individual recognition. The Barcelona forward has been there on the podium a few times but never laid hands on the award. He has watched Ronaldo and Messi share the war spoils between them these past years. How sad.
But the 32-year-old has never stopped improving and making selfless contributions for both team and country whenever he's called upon to do so.
Iniesta was named the man of the match despite Alvaro Morata scoring twice, a sign of the Barcelona midfielder’s impressive form in the tournament after he also won plaudits against the Czech Republic, though not from UEFA, who left him out of their team of the first round of group games.
“I hear them, I hear them clearly. The fans have been a 10,” Iniesta told Telecinco, AS reports, after the win that confirmed Spain in the last 16 with a game to spare.
“I’m grateful to the people for the trust they have in me. I always think the same: In a team sport it’s not only you that does things. I think what’s most important is we overcame a team we knew was going to be intense. These points give us peace of mind.
“Every situation has its particulars. I’m enjoying it now because things are going well and we’re all at a high level. All seasons have their good moments and their bad moments. We haven’t done anything yet but we’ve taken a firm step.
The famous Barca player was asked his thoughts on Spain being among the favorites for the trophy and he asked in surprise: “Favorites?” Then he went ahead to add: “That assessment will be made outside. How far we get depends on ourselves. The 2014 World Cup was a disappointment. We didn’t think it would end that way. The team’s response has been very positive in these two games and we’ll go forward. Our feelings are positive and at the individual level I always try to take the maximum responsibility, no matter my age.
“To progress in the tournament we have to grow as a team, promoting the good and minimizing the bad. We had an opponent different to the Czech Republic and after the first goal things calmed down and we were able to have more of the ball. All the players were a 10, and the fans, who backed us in an important way.”
Iniesta also had a few words for his teammate at Camp Nou, Arda Turan who plays for Turkey but was jeered by a section of his own supporters during the match.
“It’s difficult when you’re whistled by your own fans. I feel bad for him. He’s a good player and this isn’t an easy situation. I offered my encouragement at the end of the match and I wished him the best for the rest of the Euros,” he revealed.