Barcelona legend Iniesta names Pep Guardiola and Michael Laudrup his childhood heroes
- Barcelona great Andres Iniesta reveals how Guardiola and Laudrup influenced his playing career.
- Spain's World Cup 2010 hero also describes his emotional farewell at FC Barcelona.
Andres Iniesta is arguably the best midfielder to have donned the famous Barcelona shirt since the legendary Johan Cruyff. The Spanish midfielder answered questions posed to him by Barcelona fans on La Liga's official social media accounts, and some interesting details have been revealed.
Andres Iniesta joined Barcelona's famed youth academy 'La Masia' at the age of 12 and was earmarked as a future prospect right from the very beginning. As a teenager, the midfielder modelled his game around the unique styles of Michael Laudrup and Pep Guardiola, who were a part of Barcelona's iconic 'Dream Team' at the time.
"My idol, or my idols, were also Laudrup and Guardiola. They were the two players I looked up to the most, the two players whose style I tried to base myself on the most."
In hindsight, it is fairly evident that the Barcelona star not only emulated his idols but went on to achieve a lot more than they could ever dream of. Andres Iniesta's skill set is the perfect combination of Michael Laudrup's dribbling and vision and Pep Guardiola's control in midfield.
"I would copy them as much as possible, whilst keeping my own style. For me as a player, they were the two who I looked up to the most when I was younger."
Iniesta describes his last game for Barcelona
Andres Iniesta decided to leave his boyhood club Barcelona in 2018, despite signing a lifetime contract with the club in the same season. The midfielder believed that it was time for the younger players at Barcelona to take the club forward, and decided to part with the club after an incredible 674 appearances.
The talented midfielder made his last appearance for Barcelona in the final league match of the season against Real Sociedad and was honoured with a standing ovation.
"I remember it well, with a lot of feelings and emotion. It was an unforgettable day, a very special day. Two days before, I knew it would be the last game and that after then, I wouldn't be playing back here again in front of the fans."
Barcelona's final homage to the legendary Spaniard was the club's 25th league title. Iniesta describes the game as a difficult one for him personally, as it concluded his incredible association of 15 years with Barcelona as a player.
"Honestly, it wasn't easy to play because it's all that's in your head, especially in the latter stages when you know that you are going to be subbed off. It wasn't easy, but I tried to make the most of it and enjoy as much as possible. It was incredible to celebrate winning the La Liga title with all our fans. To say goodbye like that was unforgettable."
Andres Iniesta also hinted at following in the footsteps of his former Barcelona teammate Xavi and taking up a managerial role in the future. Xavi is currently the manager of Qatari coach Al-Sadd and is tipped to take the reins as Barcelona's head coach in the near future.
"I'd love to study to become a manager and earn the qualification. It is something that I would like to do when I finish playing, or at least try to do."
Andres Iniesta currently plies his trade with Vissel Kobe in Japan and seems to be having the time of his life. While it is impossible to know what the future holds for the great midfielder, one thing remains certain: the doors of FC Barcelona will also remain open to its prodigal son.