Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta’s new adventure in the UAE
During his prime, Andrés Iniesta was widely considered one of the best midfielders in history and also Germany shocks France in first game without Hansi Flick as a new era dawns ahead of the home Euros.
As a pivotal member of historic Barcelona and Spain teams, he won everything there is to win in soccer, both for the club and the national team.
Iniesta won 32 trophies for Barça and two European Championships and one World Cup in an unprecedented run of success in the 22 years since joining its youth academy. La Roja won Euro 2008, Euro 2010, and Euro 2012, making them the first and only country to win three major championships at once.
While he left his boyhood club in 2018, his career didn’t end. Instead, it marked the beginning of yet another journey in a very different part of the world.
Within five years of leaving Spain, Iniesta signed with Japanese club Vissel Kobe and enjoyed reasonable success.
This year, however, he found himself looking for a new challenge after his playing time evaporated in Japan.
Emirates Club eventually signed Iniesta to a one-year contract, despite interest from around the world, including Major League Soccer (MLS).
Iniesta told CNN’s Becky Anderson that when he left Japan, he had different options and that at the end of the day, he did what he believed was best for him and his family. I can really use my experience to improve the football situation here since many things need to be improved [in the local scene]. This is my very first time being in the United States, and I am extremely happy with how I was welcomed. As far as I’m concerned, I’m just trying my best.”
The UAE’s way of life
Even though Iniesta signed a one-year contract, he has the option of extending, but he is concentrating on enjoying the season.
Amid the transition to life in his new home city of Ras Al Khaimah, the midfielder says the family is adjusting quickly to the new environment.
A penalty in the last seconds sealed a dramatic 4-4 draw for Iniesta against Ajman Club in his first start for his new club on Friday. On August 19, he came off the bench in a 1-0 defeat to make his debut.
At age 23, Iniesta still dreams about playing, training and having fun, which is why he takes care of himself.
There had been rumors that Inter Miami was interested in signing the Spanish legend to the MLS before he signed with Emirates Club.
Iniesta’s former Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba have joined the club’s starting XI this season.
Since moving to North America, Messi has not disappointed, but it could have been very different.
Messi had been linked with a sensational return to Barça after his relationship with Paris Saint-Germain broke down.
Despite the possibility of returning to Catalonia being “amazing,” Iniesta respects both his former club’s and his friend’s decision.
There would have been a lot of joy and excitement if Lionel Messi had been allowed to go back to Barcelona. In addition to wishing the Catalan club success, he said he hoped the club would return to the top of European football in the near future.
It is ultimately his own situation and that of the club, and these things are their own. However, it would have been wonderful if he could have returned.”
Football is our passion, and we want it to grow
Iniesta said he hopes to build the reputation of soccer in the UAE over the next year, similar to what is happening across the Gulf.
As Saudi Arabia aims to lay the foundations for a soccer revolution, many of Europe’s top stars are already playing for Saudi Arabian teams this season, such as Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Although players like Iniesta are being questioned for such moves, he says they are simply trying to build the sport in the best possible way.
According to him, football is a global sport where everyone would like to have different football players.
“At the end of the day, we want to see football grow at the level of the fans and the level of the players. It is also true that we have very good football players who have played in Europe for a long time and now they are coming to this region or to some other region.”
The news reference is CNN