Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez claims Andres Iniesta is bearing the fruits of the faith being shown in him by his Spain teammates.
Iniesta earned plaudits for another classy performance in Spain’s 3-0 win against Turkey, a result which sent La Roja into the Euro 2016 knockout stages, and Xavi commended his countrymen for making the No 8 “feel important”.
“The recognition that Andres gets from his teammates and the dressing room is most important,” he said upon receiving an award from Spanish Footballers’ Association [AFE] on Friday, Marca reports.
“He also feels important. He’s the one who has to carry the team in order [for Spain] to achieve great successes.
“Awards [such as FIFA Ballon d’Or] will pass him by, now that he’s 31 or 32 years, but he is one of the best players in the history of Spain and hasn’t even finished yet.
“I’m glad that things are going well for him out of the friendship that unites us, and I wish him all the best.
“Pique’s goal also calmed down the fans a little. He did well to relax the tension he had with the fans.
“Pique has amply demonstrated his commitment to the national team. He always gives leadership in the dressing room and on the pitch.
“Spain are one of the favourites. I won’t say [they are the outstanding favourite] because there are five or six others who are also candidates.
“Ultimately, Spain have to go step by step. It won’t be easy, but they can win these Euros.”