Andres Iniesta is one of a kind.
The cultured midfielder is a certified Barcelona legend but has received standing ovations from the Catalan giants’ two biggest rivals.
Fans of Espanyol and Real Madrid have risen to their feet in appreciation of Iniesta, not just because of his undoubted talent, but because of his humility and class off the pitch.
And the 2010 World Cup winning hero’s latest comments will only endear him to Barca’s fierce rivals even more.
When asked about the latest Ballon d’Or result, which saw Cristiano Ronaldo draw level with Lionel Messi on five golden balls, Iniesta’s response was refreshingly respectable.
“Each person is free to their own opinions and feelings,” he told Sport.
“A player at his level, with five Ballon d’Ors… obviously he is among the best.
“From there, we all have are own preferences. Mine is clear. I’d go with my teammate, with Leo, for all that he’s represented and still represents. But everyone has their own tastes.
“The winners of these awards are always fair, I don’t think it’s unfair that Ronaldo has won five.”
Compare Iniesta’s comments to that of Gerard Pique, who has always been reluctant to praise Ronaldo and has categorically stated that Messi is a better player.
Iniesta acknowledges that preference is the overriding factor in the Messi vs Ronaldo debate and deems both his good friend and his rival worthy of five Ballon d’Or awards — what a gent.
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Iniesta’s magnanimous comments also contrast to those of Ronaldo in the wake of his Ballon d’Or victory.
The Portuguese superstar said: “I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can.
“There’s no player more complete than me. I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists.
“There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you, there’s no one more complete than me.”
If you say so, Ronny.
We prefer Iniesta’s assessment.