But also that his humility sets him apart from most
The Barca coach was also humbled by the reception Iniesta received.
He said: “Andres deserves it and I’d like to thank the
. Cristian Zapata’s own goal in
88 minutes gave Edoardo Reja’s side a priceless three points.
He said: “It’s always a difficult encounter against
Espanyol but we used the space well and our forwards were really
successful on the night.
Napoli moved to within three point of Milan after a late Edinson
Cavani goal earned them a 1-0 home win over Lecce.
HUMBLED: Guardiola CLASS APART Iniesta controls the play against
derby rivals Espanyol but the home fans, below, heaped praise on the
Barca star following his tribute to their former player in the World Cup
Doubles from David Villa and Pedro along with a Xavi strike sealed
the points for Pep Guardiola’s side who maintained their lead at
the top of La Liga.
“Far more important than any rivalry is the people. They have
sent me many messages and that is much more important to me.”
As he celebrated his famous goal Iniesta unveiled the words
”Dani Jarque, you are always with us” and fans of
Barca’s city rivals will never forget it.
“This club has given me and my family everything.
There was drama at the Weserstadion as Kaiserslautern beat Werder
Bremen 2-1 in a fiery clash. And one which highlights why he’s now the clear
favourite to win FIFA’s coveted Ballon D’Or – the award for
the world’s best player.
Despite the fact Iniesta helped destroy them with another polished
display at the Cornella-El Prat Stadium – they gave the midfielder a
standing ovation when he was substituted.
The Spaniard is now 4-7 with the bookies to lift the trophy ahead
of Barcelona team-mates Xavi (6-4) and Lionel Messi (8-1).
Roma moved into the chasing pack with a crucial win over leaders AC
like to think my best moments on the pitch are still ahead of me and I
still think I can give more.”
And the good news for Guardiola is that after another sparkling
display from Barcelona, Iniesta revealed he’d like to spend the
rest of his career at the Nou Camp.
After falling into fifth spot in the league, he said: “We gave
our all on the pitch but we had a great team in front of us.”
It was a special moment for Iniesta, who was a close friend of
Jarque’s. Aaron Hunt cancelled out Srdan Lakic’s
early penalty before the Croatian striker hit a second-half winner but
both sides were then reduced to 10 men when Alex Bugera and Sandro
Wagner saw red.
In Italy, Lazio stayed joint second in Serie A after a 3-2 victory
over Udinese at the Olympic Stadium. Loan star Marco Borriello returned to the San Siro to haunt his
parent club as he grabbed the winner for the visitors.
Athletic Bilbao beat Levante 2-1 and Sporting Gijon salvaged a draw
against Deportivo La Coruna thanks to Diego Castro’s 89th minute
“We feel that Iniesta reflects what our club as an institution
is all about.”
Espanyol boss Javier Marquez – whose side had only lost two goals
at home all season until meeting Barca could only hold his hands up and
admit they lost to a superior team.
That will be a scary thought for the rest of La Liga as Barcelona
continue to set the pace at the top of the table.
Byline: SCOTT McDERMOTT
Elsewhere in Spain, Valencia snatched a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad
thanks to an Aritz Aduriz’s stoppage-time goal while Villarreal
beat Real Mallorca 3-1 with Nilmar, Santi Cazorla and Guiseppe Rossi all
on target for the home side.
“It would be special to end my time as a player at Barca – but
it depends on how I perform over the next few years.
Iniesta endeared himself to every supporter in Spain when he hit
the winning goal in the World Cup Final against Holland in the summer.
After helping put Espanyol to the sword, the 26-year-old said:
“I felt something from the fans when I was on the pitch and
that’s the greatest thing about it.
In Germany, runaway leaders Borrusia Dortmund suffered a surprise
1-0 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt with Greek striker Theofanis Gekas
hitting a late winner.
But the 26-year-old showed he was a class apart when he displayed a
touching message under his shirt in honour of tragic Espanyol star
Daniel Jarque who died after suffering a heart attack last August, aged
BARCELONA superstar Andres Iniesta proved two things during the
Catalan side’s 5-1 demolition of derby rivals Espanyol at the
That not only is the diminutive midfielder one of the world’s