Andres Iniesta says Spain have always had respect for France and face a battle to finish first in their World Cup qualifying group.
The two European giants clash at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday in a vital match that could well decide the outcome of Group I, something the Barcelona midfielder reflected on in an interview with Le Monde.
“It would be great to finish in top spot but we know it is going to be very difficult and we’ll have to play really well to win. We’ve always had lots of respect for France and its players,” said the 28-year-old.
“However, we have done great things for some time now and won many titles. That has given us the prestige and confidence that has encouraged an inner fire in La Roja, allowing us to maintain the trust and faith we have in our game plan.
“Above all we are a team with many talented players who have a solidarity and respect among themselves. This ensures there is only rivalry when we play with our respective teams.
“Without question, results show that this method works. He does things very well,” he explained, in reference to national team boss Vicente del Bosque.
Iniesta, voted Europe’s best player last season, insisted he would like to finish his playing career at Barcelona.
“I don’t know if I’d like to play for another team. I’d like to finish my career with La Blaugrana but that depends upon my performances on the pitch.
“If they are good then I hope I am at the club a long time,” declared Iniesta, who added that ‘having lost La Liga last season gives us additional motivation this time’.