Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says former boss Pep Guardiola’s return to the club on Wednesday will be a special occasion for everyone.
Guardiola brings his Bayern Munich team to the Camp Nou for a Champions League semi-final first leg clash and Iniesta, speaking in an exclusive interview with UEFA.com, told of his feelings for his idol.
“Pep was always one of my two idols, alongside Michael Laudrup. I was playing in the final of a junior tournament in 1999 and it was the first-team captain's job to give out the cup – that was Guardiola and I was the captain of our team.
“That was our first meeting. As time went by, we experienced some really great moments together.
“Wednesday's game will be special for everyone because the memories are always there. It's a very interesting tie between two very strong teams.”
Iniesta went on to tell what makes Guardiola different and what is so special about him for the players.
“Every Coach is different in the way they put their ideas across. He’s a Coach who leaves no detail untouched.
“He’s always thinking about what to do to improve and is someone who offers so many answers, almost all of them correct.
“As a player he had a very clear vision of football and understood it. That, allied to his experience now as a Coach, means he has improved.
“He was an important Coach, both on a personal level and for the club given what we experienced. We learnt a lot from his time here.”
The 30-year-old went on to speak of what it is like playing in pressure games such as a Champions League semi-final.
“The main thing is to try and enjoy them as best you can. It’s true these matches are surrounded by…not pressure but tension, because of what’s at stake and you are just a short step away from achieving your objectives.
“These things shape the match but the key is enjoying what you do, knowing a very hard job needs doing over the 90 minutes, 180 minutes or however long the tie lasts,” he maintained.