Andres Iniesta's Farewell
Andres Iniesta delivered the news we've all been dreading for the past couple of years now; this is his final season. This past Friday, the Barcelona legend held a press conference to finalize the decision to leave the club he's been playing for since the age of 12.
Needless to say, there were many teary onlooking eyes including my own. For as long as I can remember, Andres Iniesta has been my idol. Growing up, I felt that I could always relate to him more than any other player. I was always one of the smaller but more technical players on the pitch, I wasn't flashy, I was never one to scream and shout through a match. In many ways I felt I resembled the Barça man. On any pitch anywhere in the world, there is a kid who wants to be just like his favorite player. Well, I had Iniesta.
And I know that I wasn't the only one who looked up to Iniesta. As Swedish journalist, Alexandra Johnson said earlier this week on Twitter, "Has there ever been a football player more loved by everyone than Andres Iniesta?"
(The tweet includes a clip from a Spanish documentary about the Spanish World Cup which primarily centers around Iniesta. I would highly recommend for any football enthusiast. Here is the link to the documentary with English subtitles)
In a world which is divided on everything from politics to sports, Iniesta is someone we can all agree on. Not only is he one of the greatest athletes to ever play a sport, but he exudes values every parent tries to instill in their child. In the last couple of days, there have been countless of homages to the Barcelona man. However, there are two which have stood out to me and I would like to share with you.
The first is Sid Lowe's piece in The Guardian. Sid masterfully recounts Iniesta's legacy within the context of the Copa del Rey Final. It's a well-written work which gives respect to Iniesta's long and storied career.
The second is on the Spanish site Panenka. It's titled 'Nunca te diremos adios', which translates to 'We will never say goodbye'. I apologize to my non-Spanish speakers, however it was too beautiful not to share. This work is beautifully poetic which is why I'd like to leave you with a translated excerpt: "But we will never bid farewell, Andres. We're not prepared. We'll see new footballers, we'll grow old, and the sport which captivated us we'll lose it's essence. However, within our nostalgic souls, you'll continue discreetly dancing with the ball sown to you boots, with your head held high, looking for that space to slip a pass into eternity."