MADRID, Spain, June 9 – Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has joined teammate Xavi Hernandez in criticising Jose Mourinho’s time in charge as Real Madrid manager.
Mourinho’s three-year spell in Spain came to an end last week and after Xavi said on Saturday his style of play had not left a lasting legacy at Los Blancos, Iniesta claimed he did more damage to Spanish football than good during his time at Madrid.
“I refer to the facts,” Iniesta told Spanish newspaper El Pais on Sunday.
“Yes, he has done damage to Spanish football, in general more bad things than good, but it doesn’t appeal to me at all to talk about this character.”
Iniesta also touched upon the current situation at Barca and the Spanish national team and fiercely denied that after a period of phenomenal success over the past five years both could be approaching the end of an era.
Despite reclaiming the La Liga title from Madrid with a club record 100 points, Barca’s season was blemished by a 7-0 aggregate hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but the 29-year-old believes it is grossly unfair to write off the Catalans due to just one bad tie.
“I know that there are many people wishing that our era will end, but we are still going. An era is many years achieving things and this era is lasting a long time.
“We will try to extend it because we know that when it ends it won’t feel good and it will be difficult to start over.
“You can’t throw what we have achieved into the bin due to one tie when we didn’t arrive in the best conditions.”
And Iniesta, who scored the only goal in Spain’s 2010 World Cup final win over Holland, also insisted the presence of two German sides in the Champions League final also doesn’t automatically make them favourites for next year’s World Cup in Brazil
“Germany have to win it if they want to take away our crown. Germany, Brazil, Argentina or whoever it is and with what it has cost us to achieve it, we will not make it easy for them.
“We have done very well, the model continues being a valid one, we are convinced of that. We continue to be competitive and when you win, you are doing things well.
“We continue to be a world reference, but it is evident that we have to improve, to grow, because the rivals also improve.”
Before concentrating on the World Cup though, Spain have a dress rehearsal in Brazil later this month in the Confederations Cup and Iniesta’s enthusiasm for the tournament has been boosted by missing out when it was held in South Africa four years ago due to injury.
“For me it is always very important to be with the national team. It means having the opportunity to play in a tournament in which I have never participated and in a country I have never played in. Moreover, this isn’t just any other country in the history of football.”