It was an official training and press conference day for Portugal and Spain Thursday before their meeting, probably the biggest match in the 2018 Fifa World Cup group stage.
Spain had a press conference at 7pm local time and the bus carrying the 2010 champion entered the stadium, just after the scheduled time. There was a queue of journalists who were waiting to go to the press conference room.
This correspondent thought that most of the players got out of the bus and entered the ground. Suddenly, while this journalist was passing the bus, a bald-headed player emerged. He was in touching distance from this reporter.
This correspondent was speechless and forgot to react properly upon realising that it was none other than Andres Iniesta, the all-important goal-scorer of the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands.
🇪🇸 Spain all smiles ahead of their World Cup campaign 😀 pic.twitter.com/X6LxxhvW6I— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) June 15, 2018
Luckily, this journalist was ready enough to bring out the phone from his pocket, turn on the camera and click just when Iniesta exited the bus.
The picture was not very clear but the moment was unforgettbale. This reporter will cherish the moment for the rest of his life.
With that said, amid all the hype surrounding Iniesta, this correspondent missed the chance to take a snap of left-back Jordi Alba, who was standing beside Iniesta. Both are teammates at Barcelona.
The nimble-footed Iniesta, who has just left Barca a few months ago for Japanese club Vissel Kobe after a prolific career at Camp Nou, will begin his last World Cup mission against neighbour Portugal Friday.
Orgulloso por todo, comienzo una etapa apasionante. ¡Gracias madridistas! ¡#HalaMadrid!— Julen Lopetegui (@julenlopetegui) June 14, 2018
I'm really proud to start a new and exciting chapter of my life. Thank you, madridistas! #HalaMadrid! pic.twitter.com/2btaq9tox8
The Catalan legend will be at the centre of La Furia Roja’s midfield. He has two World Cup goals to his name, both coming in the 2010 edition. One of his two goals was scored in the final, which enabled the Spaniards to clinch the World Cup for the first time in history.
Spain suffered a psychological setback 48 hours before the tournament when they sacked Julen Lopetegui, who recently became the manager of Real Madrid. However, his replacement, Fernando Hierro is no novice, having played four World Cups himself. Hierro and Spain captain Sergio Ramos appeared relaxed in the press conference but did focus their attention on Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, Ramos’ teammate at Real.
With the 2018 World Cup all set to be Iniesta’s swansong in a Spain jersey, the La Furia Roja need to put on a worthy performance so that the Barca and Spainish legend can go out on a high.