Andres Iniesta, who has continued his footballing career even at the age of 38, has recently sat down with SPORT. He has offered his thoughts on Argentina’s triumph with Lionel Messi at the World Cup, along with the future of Barcelona.
“I think that both Argentina and Leo deserved it for the competition they have had. We may like one thing or the other more, but it is totally deserved. That moment, to lift the Cup, to feel that Argentina as a country has won it again,” he said about Argentina’s victory.
Iniesta went on to talk about a potential return to Camp Not for Messi, adding, “I don’t know how these situations are handled. Leo is a PSG player and obviously as a Culé and seeing what he has been for Barça, for its history, hopefully at some point in these years if the opportunity arose it would be spectacular if he could say goodbye [in Camp Nou].
“He deserves it, but I understand that it will not be easy to make it possible.”
Iniesta and Messi had played together at Barcelona for years, helping the Catalans secure multiple Champions League and Spanish league titles
But while his time at Camp Nou is over, Iniesta talked about Pedri potentially carrying the torch. The club legend recently met the exciting youngster who has been compared to him. Talking about it, he said:
“It was a nice moment. I had already talked to him, but not physically. He was nice, he is a magnificent boy, and he has a lot of talent to be able to become a reference both in Barça and in the national team. We shared a few minutes and I wished him good luck.”
Iniesta responded to comparisons between him and Pedri, stating, “That will always exist, the comparisons and others will be there. We cannot go out and say that nobody talks about this, it is impossible. When I went up to the first team there were also comparisons.
The important thing is that he does what he is doing and continues to do wonders. When you watch him play you really see that he enjoys playing football. There will always be talk outside, but what you do on the field is what matters,” he added.
The veteran midfielder went on to suggest that there are certain similarities between him and Pedri. “There are things in which we are similar. We play in the same position, and some gestures or ways of moving. In the end, this is a lot like when I had my references. We sure have something in common,” he said.
Pedri was not the only Barcelona youngster who was praised by Iniesta, as the 38-year-old went on to talk about the pool of young players making their breakthroughs in the first-team setup.
“They do it in the future because they are already leading and performing at their age. They have to keep working hard, learning, improving, to be better every year. At Barça what you have done does not count.
Every game, every year, you have to improve and be better. For them who start so young, it is a challenge and it is important that they be accompanied in this so that they continue to grow and raise the level,” he said, referring to the likes of Gavi, Alejandro Balde and Ansu Fati, among others.
Iniesta reserved a few words for Gavi, in particular, adding, “His talent. It is surprising to see a boy of that age with that way of doing things and that determination. They are players who, if they continue to grow and continue to be humble at work and wanting to improve, their level will continue to rise year after year.”
While Iniesta praised young players, he also offered his thoughts on some of his old Barcelona teammates. Sergio Busquets, for one, was hailed by the playmaker.
“He is not the past, he is the captain of Barça, until now of the national team. Until the last day, he will continue to give the level and be the example that he is. There will come a day when he will have to leave, but that is the law of life.“
Iniesta’s comments come in the midst of rumours swirling around the future of Busquets, whose contract at Camp Nou expires at the end of the season
Moving on, Iniesta talked about Xavi as the head coach of Barcelona. He praised his former teammate, suggesting he has made a positive impact on the team.
“Since the arrival of Xavi, it has been positive. Well, it is a matter of that, of continuing to believe in what is done and that the results accompany each other so that this idea or way of doing things has the necessary strength,” he said.
The midfielder had also talked about the possibility of him potentially working as an assistant for Xavi on the Barcelona bench. He admitted that a potential return to Camp Nou would not be impossible, but difficult at the moment.
Finally, Andres Iniesta talked about his career, hinting that his time at Japan may eventually come to an end. But for now, the midfielder wants to continue his career, as he enjoys playing football even at the age of 38.
“At the moment this year I will start playing and we will see. I feel good and I continue to enjoy football, it’s what I like the most. Until that time comes I will continue to enjoy,” he said.
“I don’t see my life in Japan afterwards, soon it will be a stage that is coming to an end, one of the most important experiences of my life at a family level, wonderful. But there will come a very close moment when it will have to be closed and another door will open.”