Andres Iniesta said he has no intention of retiring from football anytime soon in an interview with former club Barcelona yesterday.
The 35-year-old midfielder was speaking from his home in Kobe, Japan, exactly two years after he won his last trophy at Barcelona and a week after the launch of his documentary: Andres Iniesta — The Unexpected Hero. Asked about thoughts of retirement, Iniesta said: “I still see it as something that is a long way off. I feel good physically and mentally and I’m full of motivation.”
Iniesta signed for Vissel Kobe in May 2018. His second season at the club was cut short when, after just one match, the league was suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak. “We are at home, following the instructions and hoping to return to routine and normality,” said Iniesta.
“We have taken the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the family, which we normally do not have. Here in Japan the situation is calm because the numbers are not so high. A couple of weeks ago, confinement was tightened-up to stop the spread and we are waiting so see what will happen now.”
The J1 League hopes to return on May 9. Iniesta added: “In Kobe we have found a calm, comfortable city and everyone has made us feel very welcome.”
The Unexpected Hero documentary is based on his autobiography The Artist published in 2016 and is available on Rakuten TV. In the interview he was asked about comments made by Ivan Rakitic in the film that the club’s famous “La Masia” academy building, originally used to house young players, should be named after Iniesta.
He said: “Part of me would like it because of what La Masia means to me. It’s a big thing at Barcelona. But at the same time I wouldn’t like it because a lot of players have gone through there and there are many others who are just as deserving as me. I learned to grow up fast there. And I learned so much about the football and life and so many important values.”
Iniesta was also asked if he could pick just one season from his 22-years at the club. “Every season taught me things,” he said. “If I had to pick one season it would be easy for me to pick the season we won everything. But I learned a lot in the season I debuted under Louis van Gaal for instance, when we did not win as much.”
Asked for his greatest single memory from his time at the club he added: “The day I debuted was the best day of my career. “It’s what I had been dreaming of and working hard towards since I joined the club aged 12.”
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