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AS.COM | 04/02/2013
Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta gave an interview to FIFA.com, and when asked about Leo Messi he responded that he plays "better when Leo's there" and that in turn Messi "is a better player alongside us". He also said he was "as happy for Leo to win his fourth Ballon d'Or" as if he'd won it himself.
"I think a great team comes about when each person plays to his full potential. Barça are better with Leo in the team and Leo plays better with Barça. Football isn't an individual sport, it's a team game in which individuals stand out much more when everyone's pulling together. I play better when Leo's there and he's a better player alongside us and that's what matters: the fact we all feel we've a part to play in doing things right" said Iniesta.
The midfielder was also asked what the most memorable moment from 2012 was for him: "The Euro Championships, maybe, because of how important that championship was to the team and because no other national side has achieved what we did [in winning the EURO, then the FIFA World Cup then the EURO once more]. And well, it's like I always say: more than anything else, I most enjoy the good feeling that comes with playing well, feeling happy and improving every day. That for me is what means the most, year after year".
The Barcelona player also talked about his influences: "When I was little I always used to watch [Pep] Guardiola and [Michael] Laudrup really closely. They were the two players I most wanted to be like, and I'd try to do the things they did. Then, as time goes by and when everything goes well, the lads who are the age you were back then are now watching you. That means that you're doing the right things"
He also admitted that the team had been through tough times recently with the illnesses of Eric Abidal and Tito Vilanova. For Iniesta, his dream would be to "hang up his boots" at the same club he joined when he was 12 years old. "Leaving doesn't even cross my mind right now because I'm in the best place I could ever be", said the midfielder.
As to Spain's chances of qualifying for Brazil 2014 Iniesta was optimistic, despite the home draw with France: "It's true that nowadays it's very difficult to win games, whichever national team you're playing against. And when it comes to France, even more so. When you're not quite on top of your game, the opposition can beat you or hold you to a draw, and that's what happened against France. But we're fully confident that we're capable of staying top, seeing our games through and, why not, going and winning in France [on 26 March]. The squad's got what it takes to do that.