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Andres Iniesta talks to Marca a year on from lifting the World Cup

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By David Redshaw

Monday 11 July 2011

A year on from lifting the World Cup with Spain, and scoring the winning goal in the final, Andrés Iniesta sat down to talk to Spanish newspaper Marca.

- The World Cup one year ago and your goal, the name of Andrés Iniesta forever linked with the history of the tournament.
That´s the reality of it. I am very proud to have made history and been able to live and enjoy such an historic moment.

- Has anything changed for you?
Things on the outside have changed but inside everything is still the same.

- What was July 11 like?
I remember it was a normal day, just as if it was any other game. I remember how calm we all were. I can´t explain it because there was a great calmness about us despite it being before Spain´s first World Cup Final.

- Did you ever imagine you would be a hero all over Spain?
No. After making my international debut at Albacete in 2006, one of the greatest things to have happened to me, it is difficult to think that two years later we would win the European Championship and then the World Cup. We would have given anything to win either. Spain had never been close to being World Champions before then.

- Explain what you meant when you said everything went silent before you scored.
It was an incredible moment. It seemed as if the world had stopped, as if everything was frozen. I controlled the ball, ready to shoot, and I knew it was going to go in. Why? I can´t explain, but I knew it was. It had to be a goal, it was Spain´s moment.

There was even more to come, and I went running into the corner to celebrate, the one where Iker lifted the trophy. But there are many special moments inside all of us.

- There is a picture of you running to the corner and looking at the linesman.
Yes. I knew that I had been on my own in the box. I was looking at the linesman when I was running, but I didn´t know exactly what he had seen. The 116th minute is one of the most special moments of my life.

- Do you have a clear picture of what happened in the corner?
More pictures than sound.

- Webb then signalled a goal and.......
I collapsed onto the grass. Victor Valdés came running but no words came out. I was just crying and crying.

- Then came the memory of Dani Jarque.
Before the final I had spent days thinking how I could dedicate something to him. In the dressing room I saw Sergio and Navas putting on t-shirts with his picture on them. Then I went up to Torres, who had also been with me and Dani in the Under-19 side when we were European Champions. He told me: “Do what you thought about doing for Dani.”

- All that before the final began?
Yes. I went to the physio and said: “Write this on the shirt.” While he was doing it we went out to warm up. When I got back in the dressing room he had Dani´s t-shirt, but never at that moment did I think I was going to score. The t-shirt was for if we won the trophy.

- What did Jarque mean to Iniesta?
A very great friend who will always be with me. I keep asking myself questions but for me the image of winning the World Cup was not the thing - it was the celebration, because now he will be remembered forever.

- What do you think when you hear the words ´Soccer City`?
The stadium in which we were champions, somewhere which will always be in our minds.

- Spain´s style, is it the football of the 21st century?
The national team has played this way for a long time. It is how we feel comfortable, the way in which Luis and del Bosque have explained it to us and a way of playing this group of players identify with. When things are going well, and Spain plays well, we must keep on doing it then strengthen it.

- You came out of the World Cup as a hero, but the months before were difficult.
It´s true because I was hit by injuries, amongst other things. But for me it was a triumph for hard work as everything costs something in life. Although at times it might seem like it, nothing is easy. You need to try to overcome things when they are not going well. That´s how my career has been and I think it´s the same for everybody. When you are out with injury it teaches you maturity and to value what you have.

- The World Cup was an example for us all. We arrived as favourites and after the first game hit rock bottom.
We knew to be labelled favourites was dangerous. We have always gone into the final phase of a competition with a lot of expectation. It´s true the disappointment of the Swiss game was immense, we didn´t expect it, but the team showed its greatness.

- Spain or Barcelona?
Neither. Barca is my club for life and where I needed to do well to be chosen for my country.

- Iniesta is today a name revered in Spain. How would you like to be remembered in a few years time?
As somebody that gave everything for Barcelona and his country and was honest on the pitch.

- Does it disappoint you that only a year after winning the World Cup we have been tarnished by what happened in ´Los Clásicos´?
Things happen in football. We live for the moment. It happens, but nothing lasts forever.

The original Spanish version of the interview conducted by Miguel Ángel Lara and Raul Varela and published on marca.com can be found here.

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