You’d do well to find a single football fan with a bad word to say about Andres Iniesta.
The 33-year-old is one of the most universally-loved footballers on the planet; a class act both on and off the pitch.
Even Real Madrid fans applauded the Barcelona maestro after a Clasico back in November 2015, not just because he’d produced a masterclass but also because of his character and for everything that he’s given to Spanish football down the years.
There were touching scenes at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night as Iniesta, following his superb performance in the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla, was given a standing ovation by both sets of supporters as he was subbed off in the 88th minute.
Iniesta, who is expected to move to China at the end of the season, failed to hold back the tears and understandably so.
Football fans across the world were all saying the same thing after Iniesta pulled the strings in Barça’s emphatic 5-0 victory: ‘he’s too good to move to China!’
But barring an unexpected U-turn, these will be the final matches of Iniesta’s Barcelona career.
Iniesta was booked for dissent v Sevilla
It just seems a bit of a shame because Iniesta, despite the fact he can no longer play every three or four days, is still capable of turning in magical performances.
The Mirror even handed the veteran midfielder a perfect 10/10 rating for his display against Sevilla.
The only sour note for Iniesta on Saturday night was the rare yellow card he received from referee Jesús Gil.
Iniesta was furious after being denied a free-kick and uncharacteristically told Gil in no uncertain terms that he’d made the wrong decision. He was subsequently booked for dissent.
What Iniesta did next deserves respect
However, footage has emerged which shows that Iniesta, a matter of seconds later, went up to Gil to offer an apology for his behaviour.
Watch it here… (Click play on the blacked out box below)
This footage perfectly sums up Iniesta’s character.
It took him virtually no time at all to calm down and realise the error of his ways.
He was then man enough to purposely chase down Gil and say sorry for acting out of turn.
It just goes to show that if a player like Iniesta, who has achieved everything in the game, can apologise to a referee for his behaviour, which wasn’t even *that* bad, then there’s no reason why other footballers can’t follow his example.
We’d love to see more of this respect in football.
Well played, Andres.