Iniesta: “Entering Barça’s academy was the toughest moment of my career”

Tokyo, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Spanish soccer star Andrés Iniesta says the toughest moment of his career came when he entered FC Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy.

In an interview with Efe, the 35-year-old says he wants to win more titles with Japanese club Vissel Kobe and explains how he is dealing with self-confinement on the occasion of the publication of the documentary ‘Andres Iniesta – The Unexpected Hero.’

Question (Q): Where does the idea of a documentary about your career come from?

Answer (R): The idea of it was always in my head. When I arrived in Japan we experienced a great change and started working on it with the help of Rakuten (FC Barcelona’s main global sponsor and owner of Vissel Kobe).

Q: Key figures from the recent history of Barça, such as Louis Van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernández or Lionel Messi, appear in the film. Who influenced you the most to play soccer?

A: It is difficult to choose only a few. Throughout my life, I have always had great confidence in my possibilities, but without everything I have had around it would have been very difficult to advance. Choosing certain names would be unfair… practically all of them appear in the documentary.

Q: It is said that your beginnings in the world of soccer were a “nightmare”. Was your time in La Masia the hardest of your career?

A: Yes, it has been the most difficult thing I had to overcome on a personal level. Regarding sports competition, there are many other situations which are part of the game itself, the learning process, the injuries. It was the most important and the toughest step due to several factors, such as being a 12-year-old boy or being separated from my family, with whom I have always been very close. The step was terrible on a personal level, but on a sporting level, everyone would have wanted to be in my position.

Q: Is the end of your career as a professional footballer close?

A: The documentary is the best way to verify that it is not over for now. I keep playing football, I still enjoy it and keep winning titles, something unthinkable and difficult to achieve at this club until now. In fact, it is the first time it has been achieved. I live from day to day with great enthusiasm and I’m looking forward to playing again soon.

Q: What are your short-term goals in Japan?

A: Keep winning. We won the Emperor’s Cup in January, then we won the Japanese Super Cup. After having won titles our goals are going up and the challenge as a club and also on a personal level is now the J-League, a trophy that proves continuity and consistency.

Q: How do you handle this atypical situation without training or competing?

A: Unfortunately it’s the situation we have to face now and one tries not to keep lamenting it. Today we have positive things that give us the energy to overcome this situation.

Q: How do you keep fit?

A: We have club training programs to keep fit, both at home and outdoors, in case we can go outside. In the area where we live there is plenty of space to get lost, run, walk … It is not the same, but you try to keep fit to be in the best possible conditions when it is time to train.

(Japanese authorities have asked citizens to stay home and respect social distancing in a bid to contain the coronavirus. But it is not mandatory confinement, and these recommendations don’t affect activities such as shopping or exercising outdoors).

Q: Is there a specific date when you will be allowed to train again?

A: We are awaiting the news. Initially, it could be on May 6 (when the state of health alert is expected to be over in several regions of Japan). But we are waiting until the authorities give the green light.

Q: How do you see the evolution of the pandemic in Spain?

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