Iniesta, a la sala de premsa de la Ciutat Esportiva / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Andrés Iniesta claims to have practically forgotten his injury and is only concerned about Saturday’s game at Riazor against Deportivo. “We have to go to La Coruña and get the three points, and then carry on doing the same”, he said. After commenting that they have no need to worry about what other teams are doing, he added that “I hope we’ll all be available for the game in La Coruña. After an international break it’s always that little bit more difficult”.

The Barça man told his Thursday press conference that “we are still playing the same way. I don’t think we’re more direct than we used to be. The team will improve as the season goes on. We have had a lot of setbacks with the defenders and that hasn’t given us the stability we need”. On the possible return of Piqué, Iniesta commented that “the people who know most about that are the doctors. If he isn’t ready to play, then that’s because he can’t. But even if he’s not there, we’ll still have a competitive team”.

Caution with Alavés

The Copa del Rey draw today paired Barça with Alavés. “We shouldn’t be over confident” said the player. “On paper we’re better than Alavés, but I’m sure that if we’re not at one hundred per cent, things will be difficult for us. We know that ground. We’ll have to do things right to get through to the next round … Playing Real Madrid would be nice because it would mean we’d got to the semi finals, and we’d only be one match away from the final”.

Iniesta had further words to say on the all-whites. “It is impossible to leave a competition like the league aside in order to focus on another. And especially with a team like Real Madrid … the most recent clásicos have been the way they always should be, sporting and respectful, regardless of the rivalry between us” he said

No video of Pepe

Asked about the rumours of a video of Pepe and his behaviour, Iniesta made his point very clear. “We have never been shown a video of any particular player. Neither of Pepe nor any other fellow professional. Everybody has their own personal opinion of Pepe … For me he’s a great centre back in one of the best teams in Europe”.

Ten years since debut

The FC Barcelona midfielder remembers his debut perfectly. “I remember the nerves, I’d been thinking about that match for a long time. Since then I have been lucky and have been privileged with some wonderful moments. I hope the successes of the last ten years can continue”. Iniesta has been played in all kinds of position over the years, “but there is no secret that I have always liked playing in midfield best. But it all depends on the needs we have and what the manager thinks. My only wish is to be at the team’s service”.

He ended with some comments on individuals. On Messi, he said that “the issue with Argentina had to do with results. It is practically impossible for Messi to play a bad game. He has a lot of influence on the play. It was just a matter of time and I’m happy for him. He’s still the number one”. And on Guardiola he said that “I am sure that whenever he decides to manage a team, that team will end up winning by signing him. Whether the team ever manages to reach the same level of football as Barça is something we’ll have to wait and see”.

Proud of La Mancha and Catalonia

In an interview with ‘France Football’, Iniesta said that “I was born in La Mancha, and I grew up in Catalonia and I’m delighted to live here. I have spent more time in Barcelona than Albacete. I’m Spanish, but I’m also Catalan. I feel the same”. On Thursday he elaborated on this by saying “it is a question of sentiments. That’s very logical. Those who don’t want to understand, won’t understand. I am proud that I was born in Fuentealbilla. But I’ve been here for 16 years. They have always looked after me well. My family lives here too. My wife is from here and my daughter was born here. So for me, one thing can’t be compared with the other”.

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