Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has described the thought of winning another World Cup as ‘very, very special’.
The 28-year-old has been a key part of the Spain squad that have won back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012, with a World Cup success in South Africa in between.
In an interview with The Guardian, Iniesta looked ahead to the showpiece tournament in South America, where his country will defend the trophy they lifted two years ago courtesy of his goal against Netherlands in the final.
“It’s massive, especially because it is in Brazil… a World Cup in Brazil is unique,” Iniesta said.
“It could be that after winning two European Championships and the World Cup, when maybe you would think there would be nothing else to strive for, this is a gift – something to fight for.
“Another title and an achievement that would be very, very special.”
Asked about the significance of winning the World Cup in comparison to possibly being awarded the Ballon d’Or, the recipient of which will be announced in due course, Iniesta said: “Anyone would love to be there.
“Recognition is the World Cup and the European Championships. It’s a team sport and they are the team prizes… But of course it would be nice.”
It has been a long journey for Iniesta, from when he arrived at Barca at the age of 12 in 1996, to now contesting the individual honour with club-mate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo 16 years later.
Speaking about his early days at Barcelona, he said: “Those days were the worst of my life.”
“You’re 300-odd miles away, you’re without your family. You’re from a small place where you can walk everywhere and the change is huge.
“There were lots of nights I thought: ‘I want to go home.’ (They were) very hard moments. I thought I was never going to make it.
“But you have to be strong. Even at the age of 12 you think: ‘I have to fight. I’ve come this far, there’s no going back.'”