London: Spanish players have eulogized teammate and talismanic midfielder Andres Iniesta as the team’s backbone, and described him as decisive, magician, reference point, extraordinary and reliable.
Iniesta won the official man of the match award during Spain’s match against Croatia in a group C match. He has won two this tournament, and over the last three tournaments, he has been named man of the match against Russia, Chile, Paraguay, Holland in the World Cup, and Italy and Croatia in the ongoing Euros.
No Spainish player has played more than him over the last three tournaments, playing 17 times, which means he has been man of the match in over a third of the games he has played.
Iniesta is the only player to win the award at least once at each of the three tournaments, and striker Fernando Torres believes the Barcelona star is very decisive with his passing, which makes it difficult for the opposition.
“When he has the ball, it``s like everything else stops. Like the camera is going in slow motion. He``s decisive,” a newspaper quoted Torres, as saying.
“I``ve been playing with him since we were 15, and I have never, ever seen him play badly,” he added.
Defender Sergio Ramos describes him as the ‘enlightened one’, and a man ‘touched with a magic wand’.
“He imposes so much respect on the pitch. As a football lover, I am proud to have played with him. He makes the difference and does things that no one else can do."
First Published: Saturday, June 30, 2012, 13:22