allie_long_: English lessons: Higher / Iron @henry_amandine6 📸: @bosnian_dani

I heard people talking about Andres virtually from the moment I arrived in Barcelona. I didn’t meet him at La Masia. I would go there to eat but we rarely crossed paths because I was preparing for my exams during that time. There are three years between us. Then I saw him more in training sessions than in games. But he has always been the same as a person and a player. There’s something about Andres that I admire, something that makes him seem ageless. I always picture him with a ball at his feet. That’s the way I’ve gotten used to seeing him. He does everything well, with simplicity. At times, it may look like he’s not doing anything, but in fact, he’s doing it all. Everything is different with Andres. The hardest thing to do in football is to make it look like everything is easy, effortless, and that’s Andres. He has more contact with the ball than me; he’s the person who starts moves, who gets things going. I know how difficult to it is to do what he does. His play is different, it comes from when he was very little, even though he has clearly improved over time and with different coaches. Maybe you could say that both of us have something of the street in the way we play. When you’re a kid playing on the streets, you take on board things that are very useful for you later. You get used to playing with older players and not changing your game because of that; you play your way. Andres and I are similar in that. We both use our bodies a lot, to avoid opponents. But he has something that always amazes me: there’s always a moment where you think you’re going to catch him, when you think you’re to get the ball off him, but you can’t. He’s not especially quick, but he has that ability to always get away from you, which comes from his technique. We’re more similar in the fact that we don’t talk much. He sits on one corner, I sit in another. But we cross paths, we connect; with just a look, we understand each other. We don’t need more than that. On the pitch, I like him to be near me. Especially when the game takes a turn for the worse, when things are difficult. That’s when I say to him: ‘Come closer, I want you by my side.’ He takes control and responsibility, he leads the team. In the finals, Andres, Xavi, Busquets, and I have always liked to come together to give us a numerical advantage, to control the ball and the game. We’ve experienced very happy moments together and I particularly remember an emotional hug at the Bernabeau after a goal. That was a lovely gesture from him. I am talking about the moment when he scored the third to put Barcelona 3-0 up against Madrid in the 54th minute of our meeting early in the 2015-2016 season. As the ball hit the net, he turned and ran toward the bench to embrace me as I was a sub because of an injury. That’s lovely after so many year growing up together. We understand each other very well; we don’t need to shout. We know. When Andres talks, it’s to crack a joke or o say something specific at a particular moment and then you listen. We have come to trust each other a lot, we have gained in confidence over the years and we speak out more than we did, we let loose more. He’s an admirable person, very humble despite being a magical footballer. Everything he does with the ball is incredible and he seems to do it all is if it was nothing. Everything’s natural to him.
—  Lionel Messi on Andres Iniesta