Catalán sports daily Sport presented an article in which FC Barcelona and Spanish World Champions Xavi Hernández (30) and Andrés Iniesta (26) took part in a face to face ‘debate.’ Read the results after the jump. The original can be found here.
They barely surpass 170 centimeters, are not of a very stout appearance, are not especially fast and are even less explosive, don’t have an innate goal scoring instinct or stand out for having a ruthless finish. But despite all of these drawbacks, they are at this moment the strongest candidates to win the next edition of the Golden Ball and are the envy of all the clubs of the world because they are the paradigm of attractive and spectacular football with which Barcelona leads; they are identified as the jugones [top players], are the most admired football players on the planet, and to top it all off, they are likable and nice. They are Xavi and Iniesta or Iniesta and Xavi because in this case the order of the parts doesn’t affect the product, the ‘update’ as Mourinho would say. SPORT proposed to them that they participate in a face to face debate before leaving for Argentina to play a friendly against Leo Messi, and both accepted the challenge under one condition only: they talk about football and only football.
Xavi: First, I want to congratulate you, Andrés, because you already know that you have been my weakness for a long time. For me, you deserve the Golden Ball.
Iniesta: You and I think that what is important is the team awards and not the individual ones, but in any case, Xavi, through your development and quality, you have everything needed to win it.
X: Although to be fair, Messi is above you and me. He is the best player in the world, but this year the World Cup can leave him out.
I: Yes, it’s true. Leo is above everyone. He is the only one able make a difference with such superiority.
X: Have you read Ibra’s declarations about Pep, calling him the philosopher? A little strong, right?
I: I don’t know what he’s referring to, but Pep conveys many things that help us to improve.
X: Yes, for me Pep is crazy about football. He has all of the details controlled. He’s very methodical. More than a philosopher, I would call him a scholar.
I: I learn each day from Pep. He always teaches me something. That for me is very important.
X: For me, he’s a reference in all senses; he’s the best trainer that I have had in my life. What’s more, it’s gone really well for us because he has given a lot of confidence and strength to the homegrown people.
I: Yes, Pep makes me feel important.
X: Man, Andrés, you’re also important for the whole world. Wherever you go they give you an ovation.
I: The truth is that it’s a very nice feeling to see how they applaud you like this away from home. It doesn’t embarrass me. Just the opposite, I’m very grateful.
X: It’s amazing! The people want to pay you back. You and the rest of us. Look at Villa and how they applauded him in Nuevo Sardinero.
I: Yes, it’s true. It’s clear that the World Cup has a lot to do with it. And because of this, the fans are all over us. This affection is welcome.
X: We are some of the priviledged. Now, for example, we have Villa in the attack. A guy that always moves, looking for spaces and is totally adapted to our play.
I: Yes, with el Guaje everything will be easier. He doesn’t just looks for spaces, but he also gives good assists. Combine the two things. The chemistry should be there.
X: Too bad Cesc isn’t here. That would be amazing!
I: A shame. When you talk about him, you realize that he had a great deal of hope and everything seemed like it would come out fine, but …
X: Bah! If it’s not this year then it’ll be next year. Cesc has the Barça DNA and will end up here. I think that Wenger has made it clear that he will only be able to keep him for a year.
I: This year Arsenal didn’t want to sell him, so it was very difficult for him to come.
X: Have you seen how Mourinho has arrived? He won’t stop talking about Barcelona.
I: Luckily we don’t need any of his punchlines to motivate us.
X: Well, I don’t know what to tell you. For me, ‘Mou’ coming to Madrid motives me. He’s a very media-based coach, who likes controversy and to talk a lot, maybe too much.
I: Yes, but we have to go with our own.
X: Of course! We’re not going to be dumb enough to fall for his provocations.
I: If we win or go far in the tournament, it will be thanks to ourselves.
X: The only thing is that the injuries respect us
I: Yes, we already know that they are part of the game. When you go out to play, you do it without thinking about getting injured. The important thing is prevention work.
X: This year, Andrés, we have to be very careful. Every year that goes by you have to care for yourself more. I think looking at the statistics of the last years, the Spanish internationals of Barça are those that have played the most games, and it will take its toll sooner or later.
I: Yes, knock on wood. By the way, did you see Atlético Madrid’s game?
X: Yes, they are strong. The worst thing is that we face them within two weeks in the Calderón.
I: They are a great team and are growing.
X: Unfortunately, I still remember the game we played there last season. It was the only one we lost in the league. I got hurt, and also Keita. Alves couldn’t play, and Barta went out and did what he could.
I: We hope things will go better this year.
X: Yes, but first we have to win against Hércules at Camp Nou.
I: Like the ‘mister’ says, you have to go game by game.
X: There are a lot of people who were surprised by Madrid’s tie in Mallorca, but I always say that the Iberostar Estadi is not an easy field.
I: We’ll have to wait and see what consequences this result will have in the future.
X: What happens is that when there is a break in the league action, people talk and talk a lot.
I: Yes. It’s too early to talk about anything today. And we aren’t going to stick out our chests just because we won 3-0 at Racing. We already know that nobody gets anything as a gift.
X: You said it. The leagues are long and very hard. You can’t relax for a even a second.
I: And for that we have Guardiola. With him there is never relaxation.
X: Now that you’re talking about Pep, Ibrahimovic has come to mind again, and I don’t really know why.
I: I don’t know about you, but as a teammate I’ve had no complaints. Each player has their own personal situation. He’s a great player, and he doesn’t stop being one just because he left.
X: I always say the same: what’s important is to be happy. Seeing how things were going, it’s better for all that he left. I hope that he now enjoys this new stage at Milan.
I: It’s true. The important thing is that one is happy and feels well. I don’t know if his departure was necessary, but an agreement arrived, and there it is.
X: Have you seen what a ‘crack’ Mascherano is? He says that he will learn from us.
I: We’ll also learn from him. He’s the leader of Argentina and he has experience at Liverpool. He’s a player that will bring us a lot of things.
X: You said it! Mascherano is a great signing, as is Adriano. We have a very complete and versatile squad to face the season.
I: What’s more, I’ve already equaled my record from last season.
I: Yes, man. I’ve already scored a goal, when last year I only scored one in the league.
X: Ha, ha! You know what happens, Andrés. You save your goals for the important moments. Stamford Bridge, the World Cup final, and now I suppose we’ll have to wait for the Champions League final at Wembley, right?
I: No, I want to keep scoring so that I don’t get out of practice.
X: Hey, a little bird told me that there was joking around this summer with photos of your swimsuit. Is that right?
I: Did you see the photos?
I: Well, I put on one, like any other. It seems like there were people who didn’t like it.
I: Ah! I don’t know. For me it was a cute swimsuit, but to each their tastes and colors.
X: Of course. Have you received the bonus for winning the World Cup?
I: For now, I haven’t seen anything. We’ll see if it comes…
X: Well, like you, Andrés. Not a thing.
I: Changing the subject, what do you think about the arrival of Sandro?
X: Well, to tell you the truth, it surprised me nicely. You remember when we were with him, Bartomeu and Rossich (the general director) during the Super Cup of Spain at Camp Nou. He was very friendly and caring. I’m convinced that he’s going to do things well. You note that he loves Barça and that he’s going to do everything possible to keep the dynamic of victories for the team.
I: We also have the advantage that we already know him. You can tell that he wants to do things well, and each has his way of achieving successes. It’s clear their success is our success, and we’re all going in the same direction.
X: What more, you have to appreciate the gesture with Laporta when he let him celebrate the league title with us at Camp Nou. That says a lot about Sandro because it’s the best way to unite all of Barcelona under one flag.
I: Yes, the more unions, the better for us. We have always been able to isolate ourselves from matters beyond the sporting issues because we cannot control them, but it was nice to enjoy a party like that of el Gamper.
X: What a party we had in South Africa and then in Spain!
I: Man, I checked it all out especially when I was in Fuentealbilla on vacation. A bunch of people came to see me, and I just realized what it means to win a World Cup, especially for the people.
X: For that reason I didn’t want to go very far and I stayed in Catalunya all summer. I wanted to enjoy this success with my friends and family.
I: I went to Cerdeña to get away from it all.
X: But there they made you remember a lot, right?
I: You wouldn’t believe it. It’s a very quiet place if you know how to look for it.
X: The truth is that there is very little that we could ask for. We are in the best club in the world and in the best national team in the world.
I: Yes, here we feel at home. Everyone treats us very well, from the doctors and the physios, the coach… the group is fantastic. And that way it’s much easier to get results.
X: And to top it off, we have six more teammates at our side.
I: Yes, that helps. But we’ve also known the others for a long time, and we function like a family.
X: Remember, Andrés, that you have half promised to score a ‘little goal’ in the final at Wembley and could be lifting the Golden Ball in January.
I: If only. But you already know how I am, although it seems like I repeat myself a lot, that for me, team trophies come before the individual ones.
X: Hey, I just realized that it’s already 1:30.
I: What! Let’s go eat before it’s too late.