In 1999, Pep Guardiola stated that he had seen a 15-year-old in a youth team of FC Barcelona who could read the game better than he could himself. Because the boy was a big fan of Guardiola, he signed a poster for him with the text: “To the best player I’ve ever seen.” The boy was delighted.
It were Andrés Iniesta’s first steps to a glorious carreer.
Iniesta is not only one of the world’s best football players. He is also one of the most beloved footballers around the world. Even fans of rivals Real Madrid and Espanyol have to admit they like him as both a player and a person.
We met Andrés Iniesta for the third time during our private signing session last month. He is one of the nicest person in football and so down to earth.
Pep Guardiola once said about Iniesta: “He doesn’t wear earrings and hasn’t got any tattoos. That makes him unattractive to the media but he is the best.” He is an ordinary-looking guy, who not long ago in a Barcelona café was mistaken for a waiter by a woman who gave him her order. Iniesta went to the kitchen and got it for her.
But what makes Iniesta such a beloved player around the world? He thanks his parents for the person he is nowadays.
“I like to return to the small town where I grew up and hang out with my old friends. It is easy for me to be me. I am how my parents educated me. I am what I am thanks to my parents. It’s impossible to lose those values. When I was 12 years old my father saved money for three months to buy me predator boots. I have money now but each time I look at those boots I remember where I come from.”
Vision of life
Something that changed his vision of life was the death of Dani Jarque, his close friend and Espanyol’s captain, who suddenly passed away in 2009 because of a heart attack. “Jarque’s death completely changed my vision of life.”
He wanted to make the world remember Dani Jarque. And he did. Iniesta scored the winner in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ final which made Spain the world champion for the very first time. When all the world was watching him, he took off his shirt and showed his message, “Dani Jarque siempre con nosotros.”
Dani Jarque will always stay with him. And we will always like Andrés Iniesta.