Andres Iniesta Predicts his return to Barcelona from Japan

Andres Iniesta Predicts his return to Barcelona from Japan

Three years after leaving Camp Nou, veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta predicts his return to Barcelona but affirms that it will be after he is done winning more trophies with Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

There are not many phenomenal players like the 37-year-old who with countless silverware and trophies is yet has eyes on more trophies especially the Asian Champions League.

Iniesta recently put a pen on a new deal with Vissel Kobe, the new contract will keep him playing until he is almost 40.

Speaking about his inspiration and motivation, the midfielder takes everyone back to his hometown of Fuentealbilla where he started his journey as a professional footballer.

Below is a compiled excerpts of Iniesta’s interview with BBC Sport where he made shocking prediction of his return to Barcelona from Japan.

“I consider myself an intuitive player who reads the game a few steps ahead,” said Iniesta. “In the position I play those are maybe my strengths and I try to exploit them as much as possible.

“There are things happening, things I am processing in my head. It’s hard to describe them. They happen in an automatic way – I could have been learning them since I was young or through repetition.

“In football, if you start thinking you can go too slow.”

While trying to explain his unique pattern of play, Iniesta tags it “essence”, for providing the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final as well as producing several mesmerising moments on the biggest stage of football, tio him the foundations are “stuff I used to do when I was 10 years old”.

“Those essences come out in training or matches and I am just led by them,” he explains. “When I was a kid I was basically playing in the streets of my hometown or in the school playing yard, and that environment helps you evolve.

“The connection to that environment and who you are and what type of person you are brings you to being a certain type of player.

“Nowadays kids are maybe practising football in more well-prepared fields. In those environments they need to try to adapt and gain some skills. Each environment helps you get better.”

Growing up as a kid in the streets of Albacete and following the likes of Michael Laudrup and Pep Guardiola, Iniesta was exposed to Barcelona’s renowned youth academy La Masia at the age of 12.

Guardiola had openly stated that Iniesta would retire him before he eventually became the coach the built the formidable team that had Iniesta, Xavi and Messi conquering the whole of Europe.

“Barcelona was like an exam every game and you had to pass that,” says Iniesta. “That’s the base and each time you have to adapt to the environment, mould yourself to the style that is required of you – but always keeping the essence.

“I’ve had different coaches. I started with Louis van Gaal and then there was Guardiola, Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde. All coaches teach you something and you can learn something from all coaches. Maybe there are times I played less, but that experience enriched me too.

“It would be hard to point out a coach who has influenced me the most and that’s the same with the players I have played with and learned from. I have been in Barca and Spanish national teams in very good moments and I have been with the world’s best players and I have learned from all of them.”

He continues: “It’s not only what you have immediately around you, but an opponent, an opponent’s system or style of play. I’ve always thought this motivation to learn is the motor to keep improving.

“You can learn from everything, not only from your immediate surroundings but from everything surrounding your football.”

About his time under the management of Guardiola; “Barca has always been characterised by being a team that wants the ball and wants to keep the ball,” says Iniesta. “In the time of Guardiola, the football itself didn’t change but it was a time where teams were really looking at us and trying to learn.”

“I will always see Barcelona in a good way because I still see a different team,” says Iniesta. “Many things have changed since then. Naturally the players are different but there is still an idea, a concept.

“Sometimes there will be good times and sometimes there will be worse times, like it has always been, but personally I don’t like comparing too much.”

Finally, Iniesta predicts his return to Barcelona while speaking to BBC Sport, saying:

“Yes, it is something I wish, I would like it to happen because more than anything it is the club I spent so many years in.

“You don’t know what will happen in the future, you don’t know in what way I could return or who will be the people in charge at a certain moment.

“So there are many factors which make it hard to see what will really happen, but if you ask me if I would like to, the answer is yes.”

He continued; “Sometimes I would like to coach, sometimes I think my interests go into other directions,” he ponders. “I know I want to stay in football and when I finish as a professional I would like to get a coaching licence, but I don’t know if I will use it in the future.

“There’s nothing where I wake up in the morning and think ‘I want to do this’, so for now I will enjoy playing, training and will see what happens in the future.”

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However, in as much as he wishes to go back to Barcelona, he insists that he still has a lot to offer at Kobe alongside the peace and comfort he enjoys in away from home with his wife Anna and children.

“It is very hard in your home to find a place you feel comfortable or enjoy on a daily basis both professionally and personally,” says Iniesta. “But I think we have found that place in Kobe.

“It was a difficult decision to leave Barcelona but from the beginning the way people treated us has been very, very nice.”

Iniesta has committed the next two years of his career to Vissel Kobe and while speaking about his career he added;

From my side, as long as my body can do it I want to keep competing,It is important for me to keep that good condition so I can keep enjoying football.

“We’ve won the only two titles in the club’s history and we want to keep trying to make history here this season.

“We are in a good position and the objective is to qualify for the Asian Champions League. In the years I have left, even though it is not easy, I would like to win some more titles.”

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