Iniesta - I always kept faith
Spain's World Cup hero Andres Iniesta insists he was always confident his side could lift the trophy.
Last Updated: 13/07/10 6:30pm
Spain's World Cup hero Andres Iniesta insists he was always confident his side could lift the trophy, despite enduring a turbulent season.
Midfielder Iniesta, who netted the extra-time winner for Spain in Sunday's World Cup final against Holland, was plagued by a thigh injury last term and only returned for Barcelona at the end of the campaign.
The 26-year-old then aggravated the problem during Spain's friendly win over Poland ahead of the South Africa tournament and was sidelined once again as Vicente del Bosque's side lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their opening group match.
But Iniesta, who reappeared to play a key role in Spain's first World Cup triumph, claims he never doubted his side could land the world title.
"I have always had faith and confidence. I had a lot of confidence in this team from the very first moment." said Iniesta.
"It has been a difficult season, hard for me in many ways, but there have also been moments of the season when I have felt good. It has simply been a hard season and nothing more.
"Then there was the World Cup and all of us were so excited and keen to play. I really hoped things would turn out well for me and after the first game, everything changed - the team recovered well and it ended up as we know it could."
Iniesta admits he has trouble putting into words how it felt to score the crucial goal for Spain that ensured their "priceless" win.
"It's hard to explain. All I can say is that I feel very happy, and to have scored such an important goal for everybody, to make millions of people happy - that is priceless," he added.
"A lot of people follow us and suffer with the national team, so to see them all so happy is priceless."
Up until Sunday, Iniesta's most celebrated goal was an injury-time strike against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2009, sealing Barcelona's progression to the UEFA Champions League final, where they downed Manchester United.
But the midfielder insists nothing compares to the feeling of helping secure World Cup success for his country.
"Every situation has its feelings. The joy I felt that day against Chelsea was the maximum, the same as the other day, maximum joy," he said.
"But there are only a few teams lucky enough to win the World Cup and it's the biggest tournament there is."