EURO 2020. UEFA.com talks about the best EURO 2012 player Andres Iniesta, who helped the Spaniards become the first team to win the European Championship gold twice in a row.
A talented midfielder and guru of “tiki taki”, which for several years made the Spaniards the strongest national team of the planet. Having performed well at the victory for the Fury of Rocha EURO 2008, four years later Andres Iniesta looked even brighter, became the champion again and was recognized as the best player in the final stage.
• Iniesta started all matches at the winning EURO 2008, after which he managed to win three Spanish titles, two UEFA Champions League and score a winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final. In the selection of EURO 2012, the Spaniards did not lose a single point and went to the final tournament in the rank of the main favorite. Iniesta, with his clever play, speed and inimitable dribbling, turned into a key player in the national team, and it seemed impossible to stop the connection with Javi Hernandez in midfield.
• Spain went to EURO 2012 with the goal of becoming the first national team in history to defend its European title and win three major tournaments in a row. However, the winning 14-match series of “Furies of Rohi” in tournament matches was interrupted in the first round, when Spain played 1: 1 with Italy. Iniesta was recognized as the best player of the meeting. After this match, some allowed themselves to doubt the power of the Spaniards, but time showed that it was in vain: the Vicente del Bosque team lost points in a game with a future opponent in the final.
• In the remaining matches of the tournament, the Spaniards did not miss a single goal, and Iniesta was their main driving force. He took a direct part in two goals against the Irish (4: 0), and also assisted Jesus Navas in a duel with Croatia – 1: 0. “We would like to win every match 3-0, but sometimes we also have problems,” said the midfielder.
• Spain once again confirmed its class in the quarter finals, taking revenge from France (2: 0) for the defeat in the finals of the 1984 European Championship. Iniesta’s assist pass to Khabi Alonso, who took the double, clearly illustrated how easily the Spaniards sometimes outplayed the “tricolors” in Donetsk. In the semi-finals, “Fury Roja”, though not without difficulty, overcame the resistance of the Portuguese national team led by Cristiano Ronaldo. After a goalless draw in the main and extra time, Del Bosque’s wards beat the Pyrenees neighbors in the penalty shootout. Iniesta realized his attempt.
• The Spanish national team’s final performance was the final against the Italians in Kiev. In the 15th minute, Iniesta with a smart pass started the attack of the Spaniards, which led to the first goal, which David Silva scored with a pass from Cesc Fabregas. Such a frisky start set the tone for the whole fight, and the “squadra azzurra” could not withstand the onslaught of the rivals. Iniesta, Fàbregas and Silva over and over again outplayed their opponents in the middle of the field, while Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, scoring on the ball, brought the matter to defeat – 4: 0. The Spanish national team was the first to score four goals in the EURO final.
According to the results of the final, Iniesta for the third time was recognized as the Best player of the match at Euro 2012. It is not surprising that the prize for the Best player of the tournament also went to him. “It is unique and magical, it will not happen again,” he said.
What you might not know
• To study at Albacete, Iniesta reeled up a hundred kilometers three times a week. From his native village of Fuentealbilla, his family took him to games and training.
• The transfer of the young man to Barça might not have taken place, if his father didn’t tell the blue and garnet about the trip with his son to the Catalan amusement park. Taking advantage of the opportunity, representatives of the club invited Andres to inspect the Academy of La Masia and subsequently agreed on the transfer of a 12-year-old player.
• Iniesta has been attached to his family since childhood. Housewife mother Maria Luhan and mason father Jose Antonio supported the son in every way, who, in his own words, shed rivers of tears when he left his home for Barcelona.
• The first Iniesta boots bought by his father was the Adidas Predator. The football player chose her in honor of the legend of “Barca” Ronald Cuman. The Dutchman played in these boots in the 1993/94 season when he became the top scorer of the Champions League.
• The debut match for the main team of “Barcelona” in October 2002, Iniesta noted a blow to the crossbar of the goal, “Brugge”. In the Champions League group stage match, the midfielder replaced and helped the Catalans win 1-0 in Belgium. According to the recollections of club representative Carlos Naval, the coach of “Barca” Luis van Gaal asked the 18-year-old guy just to go out on the field and play.
• It is symbolic that Iniesta made his debut in the Spanish national team in 2006 in Albacete, where he replaced Fabregas in a friendly match with the Russians. In February of the following year, he was replaced in sparring with the British and just five minutes later scored with his long-range strike his first goal for the national team.
• A series of injuries undermined Iniesta’s self-confidence before the 2010 World Cup. The player was assisted by Barcelona physiotherapist Emil Ricart, who gave the player a DVD with stories of athletes who had overcome similar troubles. In preparation for the tournament, Iniesta watched it every night before going to bed.
• Iniesta acknowledged that the atmosphere inside the Spanish national team before the final stage of EURO 2012 was far from ideal. He paid tribute to the coaching staff, which was able to remove the tension between the representatives of “Real” and “Barcelona”. “We all finally realized that together we want to achieve the same goal,” the player explained.
“Some criticized us for the style of the game, but we always believed that we were doing everything right. Maybe we needed a match like the finale so that a pleasant aftertaste remained in our mouth. Believe me, the match against Italy was very difficult, although at some moments might seem like this is not the case. “
“In truth, my goal has never been to become the best of the best, number one. I play football because it makes me happy. I love my sport and I don’t play to receive individual rewards. And if people appreciate my work, it’s very cool.
“I felt that by the end of the tournament I had noticeably added as a player. I began to believe in myself more. And at the end of the final stage I felt more happy than ever. It was a magical sensation.”
They talk about him
“He could see things before everyone else and knew exactly what to do in a limited space. I am very glad that Iniesta had such an amazing career. The thing is that this is not only a great football player, but also a wonderful person.”
Luis van Gal, former Barcelona head coach
“I suppose someone once touched him with a magic wand and endowed him with the ability to score special goals at the most important moments.”
Gerard Piquet, ex-partner for Barcelona and Spain
“He reads the game brilliantly and has unique dribbling. It was Andres who opened my eyes to how important dribbling is for an insider or midfielder. If Iniesta has the ball and he goes forward with it, everything turns out as if by itself. Over time, I saw it and realized. “
Josep Guardiola, former Barcelona head coach
“One of the greatest midfielders of his generation, and any other. A really cheerful football player who won all possible titles with the club and the national team.”
Gary Lineker, former striker for Barcelona and England
National team: 131 matches, 13 goals
Eurocups: 138 matches, 11 goals
Domestic tournaments: 530 matches, 46 goals