Memories are images of something that was and will never be again. We all have them. We all know the feeling of getting lost in reminiscent thoughts. The nostalgia which creeps in with the slightest resemblance of something from our past; an image, a smell, a sound, a song, a feeling, a word, the list is endless. For as much as we think about our future, we are always reminded of our pasts.
It’s precisely this deep love for our memories that compels us to hold on to every moment for it is disappearing before eyes. Every experience we have we know will not last forever, and for as much as we may tell ourselves that the end is infinitely away, there’s nothing in the world which can stand time still. The end will always take us. Nothing lasts forever.
And so Andres Iniesta’s time finally arrived. The moment that he knew would come. The fourth official stood on the halfway line, substitution board in hand, held high above his head. ‘8’, it read in the boldest and strongest of red tones. The 84,168 in attendance all knew what that meant. The end. The end to a career that would never be forgotten. The career which filled the minds of millions with once in a lifetime memories. Memories which would recall and revive the stories of the best midfielder who ever set foot on the illustrious Camp Nou pastures. And the beauty of it; every single one of us has at least one Iniesta memory. One which we will hold on to forever. One memory of that skinny Barça midfielder that was.
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In one of the countless interviews Andres Iniesta has done in the run up to his departure, he said this “We have to understand that what was, already was. That is to say nothing will be the same, that doesn’t mean worse or better. Just never the same.” He’s right, what was is gone, never to be the same again. There is no better or worse, only different memories to be made and different memories to be lived.
Perhaps the beauty of memories is not what they can recall but instead what they can inspire. As you read this, maybe the next Iniesta is on his or her way to the world stage, motivated by the images of the number 8 Barça jersey. It’s these kinds of memories which awaken, inspirit, and encourage. So Andres Iniesta, thank you for your 22 years of memories, for you have lit the path for the brave to follow.