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Marruecos Marruecos MAR

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Gabón Gabón GAB

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Merit of Order for Andrés Iniesta

One of the first tasks for new Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez was to visit the Spanish national team as they prepare for the World Cup at their Las Rozas base. Rarely do they politicians miss an opportunity to wish the national team well as they head for Krasnodar tomorrow. Sanchez took advantage of the visit to award  Andres Iniesta with the Merit of Order for Services to Sport'. There are few matters that the Two Spains agree on but one is that Iniesta is a legend in the Spanish game and a player that has defined a generation.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez (L) gives the distinction of "Order of Merit" for sports to Spain's midfielder Andres Iniesta during his visit to Spain's national football team at Las Rozas de Madrid sports city on June 5, 2018

Collective

As Iniesta claimed, the medal is of collective merit for both a winning Spain national team from the Luis Aragones era with the likes of Casillas and Xavi and a successful FC Barcelona reign under the guidance of Pep Guardiola. The player from La Mancha will always remembered for his elegance on the pitch and has written his name in Spain's history books with his World Cup winning goal in 2010. As the player heads for his fourth World Cup, the award is testimony to a career with two of the finest teams to grace a football pitch. Iniesta is also in the unusual position of winding down his career but still being able to deliver on the pitch at the highest level.

Andres Iniesta of Spain

Russia bound

The Pedro Sánchez visit was not the only one at Las Rozas yesterday after the early visit of a FIFA commissioned drug testing team. It was also the 'media day' when the federation open their doors to members of the press corps where new Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales did something that would never have been contemplated under the former regime  by opening his office and explaining key issues in an open and transparent manner. Today "La Roja" have the day off and will train tomorrow for the last time on Spanish soil before heading to Russia in the quest for winning back the trophy that was secured in Johannesburg in the simmer of 2010.