Barcelona captain Andrés Iniesta, who is set to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season for pastures as yet unidentified, was interviewed on Spanish radio on Monday evening and spoke his Barcelona career, the World Cup – after which he will retire from international football – and his plans for the future and a possible return to Barcelona in a coaching capacity somewhere down the line.
Beginnings at Barça: “It was courageous of my parents to leave me at La Masia when I was still so young. There was even a point where my dad was thinking of taking me home, but my mum decided that I should stay.”
World Cup-winning goal: “Although it seems impossible, that night in the Soccer City in Johannesburg, I could hear the silence perfectly when I received the ball from Cesc Fàbregas. A second later the cheers started and only then did I realise I’d scored the goal that handed Spain the World Cup.”
Clásico debut and the Mourinho years: “I don’t really remember my debut in the Clásico in Camp Nou but during that time when there was a lot of tension surrounding the Clásico we really noticed it a lot with the national team. It was a period when we were not playing very well at international level but it’s completely different now, when things get tense on the pitch in the Clásico it doesn’t go any further than that.”
Iniesta: "I wish I could keep going for 10 more years "
Reasons for leaving Barcelona: “I’m going because I feel that it’s the right moment to do so and because now I’m not able to give more than I have up to this point. I’m aware of the demands of playing for this club and I decided it was best to step aside and I’m happy I’m leaving like this, after a great season and winning titles, and without going through an uncomfortable situation within the team. I wish I could keep going for 10 more years but that isn’t the case.”
Future: “China and Japan are two possibilities I’m looking at and I have to weight everything up. There are some decisions that are more or less sorted out but nothing will be finalised until next week. I want to get everything straight before the World Cup but leaving here doesn’t mean I’m going to hang up my boots. I’m leaving to carry on playing for many more years.”
Coaching: “Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to come back to Barcelona because this is my home and I’ve been very happy here. I’m starting to become interested in coaching, but I want to continue to enjoy playing for a few years yet.”