Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says that he never steps on the pitch with the intention of humiliating his opponents.
The Spain international, who lost out to team-mate Lionel Messi in Monday’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, has been heralded for his dribbling, but some critics claim that he only plays in that way to show off.
The 28-year-old has responded by saying that he has nothing but respect for his peers and would not dream of making a fool of them on the field.
“I would not want it to look like that. I do nothing to humiliate anyone, especially a fellow. After all, they are playing on the other team, but they deserve my respect,” he said.
“I play because I like the game, each time choosing the option that I feel that gives me the best chance. If it goes well you stay happy doing what you do, but never do anything with the intent to humiliate.”
Iniesta also revealed that his favourite position is in the centre of midfield rather than the slightly advanced role that he plays in for both club and country, despite it giving him slightly less opportunity to have an impact in front of goal.
“Not that I like, but I prefer to play in midfield. The way I understand the game is very participatory. I like to combine, make passes and in the middle of the football field that is possible,” he said.
“I have not felt that playing at the tip that I do more damage, but it is more decisive. It’s not the same, but in the end, I want to win the game and stay happy.”
The midfielder is one of a select group of players to have scored the winning goal in a World Cup final, but he hopes that his strike against Netherlands in 2010 is not the only reason why supporters feel affection towards him.
“I have no feeling that the love is just for that, it is a consequence of that moment. Not that it was unfair, because people are free to love me or not depending on what you want, but I wish it was for something else,” he said.
“I feel loved for something more, beyond the achievements I may have had. I think people also value me because of my attitude. At least that’s what I like.”