Iniesta responds to Ballon d’Or talk

Andres Iniesta insists the FIFA Ballon d’Or is not an obsession for him as “being surrounded by great players and competing is good enough”.

Iniesta has garnered critical acclaim for his performances in Spain’s opening two wins at Euro 2016, but he was not named in UEFA’s Team of the Week for the first matchday, while there have been calls for the midfielder to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or next year.

“I’m grateful [for all the praise], but I know that every situation has a moment. We enjoy what we’re experiencing, but we still have a match of the group stage left and then the knockout stages,” the Barcelona captain told Cuatro.

“[Vicente del Bosque] is doing a fantastic job. Hopefully everything goes as we want and that he stays longer, but we know how football works, and the best thing for us is to fulfil our objectives.

“Del Bosque is very sensible, humane and values things like no-one else. Hopefully we can win the Euros.

“I appreciate [Iker Casillas] as always. He’s our captain and leader. He has contributed a lot and it’s a privilege to have him here in the good times and bad times. Of course he wants to play. We all have that ambition, but the Coach decides.

“[The David de Gea and Torbe case] is a personal situation, but [De Gea] is transmitting tranquillity.

“He’s a top goalkeeper and been sensational in our two games. Our goal is still very well covered, he gave his explanations and we’re all with him.

“It’s the ideal situation [for Gerard Pique]. It wasn’t nice what was happening, for him or the team [referring to the booing].

“We all suffered. His commitment is unquestionable. The boos hurt everyone and it’s easier if we all paddle in the same direction.

“[On the Clasico rivalry in the Spain squad], we fight for the same objectives here, and the feelings are good. Everyone deserves a 10.

“When things go wrong, you think about [the atmosphere. Brazil was a blow, but our dressing room has always been very healthy and we shouldn’t throw everything on the ground [after a few bad results].

“[The Ballon d’Or] isn’t a thorn for me, nor do I think it’s unfair. Both Leo and Cristiano are deserving of the award.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but being surrounded by great players and competing is good enough. We carry inside this [successful] period of Spanish football, and it’s priceless.

“The strength of a person stems from being well-surrounded by your peers. Here it’s easy.

“I’m not thinking [about my absence from UEFA’s Team of the Week]. I don’t give it importance. I’m grateful for the love and respect of the fans, but I know that I experience this daily.

“The most important thing is companionship, and what makes me happiest is the collective game.”

Tags Andres Iniesta Euro 2016 FIFA Ballon d'Or Spain