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The Barça star at the opening of his new Bodega Iniesta winery / VICTOR SALGADO - FCB

“I’m feeling very positive about things” says Andrés Iniesta. “It was great to get some playing time against Getafe and I’m gradually getting back into the rhythm of playing matches.”

The midfielder was speaking in Barcelona at the opening of a new outlet for his own wine company, where he was asked not only about his own injury concerns but also the series of other fitness issues that have hit the team this season. “I don’t know why they keep happening” he said. “We look after ourselves as well as we can but football is a very physically demanding sport and we’ve hit on some bad luck this season.”

The absence of Leo Messi is obviously the most damaging of all, but Iniesta doesn’t think that should be an excuse to push him to return as soon as possible. “The most important thing is for his knee to fully recover” he insisted. “So he should only come back when he’s completely ready.”

Neymar is spectacularly talented in every sense

Another of the talking points was the amazing form that Neymar Jr has hit. “He’s a spectacular talent in every sense” says Iniesta. “He’s still very young and he has come to a team where he can develop a lot. Let’s hope his progress continues because we want him to stay here for a lot more years”.

Sergio Busquets is also having an exceptional season. “He’s a basic part of the way we play” says Iniesta of his midfield partner. “He’s the best player in his position. There will always be players who miss out as candidates for the Ballon d’Or, although I’m convinced that he deserves to be there a lot more than some others. But at the end of the day, it’s the people that vote who get to decide”.

And on another of the form players of the moment, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta added that “whether he plays at full back or in the middle he’s performing very well. We all hope he can keep it up.”

Villarreal will be a demanding opponent

Next up for Barça is Villarreal, a game Iniesta feels “is going to a tricky one against a very demanding side.” That’s the only game he’s truly worried about at this stage, although the visit to Real Madrid is starting to loom on the horizon. “I have always thought of Madrid as a dangerous team” he concluded. “They are the direct opponent that we have to beat and they’ll always be there fighting with us for titles.”

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