Andres Iniesta confesses he did not want to join Barcelona at first as the start of his career at Camp Nou were “the worst months of my life”.
Speaking to former Real Madrid man, now BeIN Sports Espana pundit Jorge Valdano, on Thursday evening, Iniesta also reflected on his disappointment of not starting the 2006 Champions League final and the impacts of Pep Guardiola and Ronaldinho.
“In my case, my first response was that I didn’t want to join [Barca] because I put my family bond before going to a place so far away and without them,” began the midfielder.
“My father made me see it as a challenge. I told him that I’d take the step and tough it out for a year.
“After that, they were the worst months of my life as a person, but with the help of everyone it was much better. They tear you from your roots and much more so when you’re 12.
“That day, when the four of us went, my parents, my grandfather and I, the trip was tremendous.
“That night, I stayed at La Masia and they went to the hotel. It was one of the worst nights.
“My father, with all the courage he has, if it wasn’t for my mother, that night he’d have returned to La Masia and taken me back.
“The challenge was not to fail, not to fail my family, myself, the challenge that if I had made that decision [of becoming a footballer], I’d go all the way with it.
“I’ve always said that my dream as a child was to be a footballer. I had no other aspiration.”
“Pep Guardiola? He has a very significant trait. He convinces you [to believe in him] because the things he tells you, they happen many times.
“He made us believe in what we did and how we did it. Keeping it up for several years is very difficult.
“Not starting the 2006 Champions League final? It was a hard time for me on a personal level.
“It’s not that I haven’t forgotten it, but I’ve overcome it. It’s one of those things that hurt you. The people at the club were as surprised as I was.
“They are incidents that you have to live through and learn how to overcome.
“Ronaldinho? He was a unique player. He changed the club’s direction and spread his joy to the team and to all Cules.
“Other essential pieces joined him, like the arrival of Samuel Eto’o, which gave him another dimension.”