Iniesta opens up on depression, Clásico "hatred" and World Cup
The former Barça and Spain midfielder gave an interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta and discussed José Mourinho and Spain's Russia disappoinment.
Andrés Iniesta has revealed that he suffered from depression earlier in his career during an in-depth interview with Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.
The former Barcelona midfielder, who moved to J-League side Kobe Vissel at the end of last season after spending his entire career in Europe at Camp Nou, opened up about his struggles and also discussed the effect of José Mourinho’s cultivation of “hatred” surrounding the Clásico games between Real Madrid and Barça during the Portuguese’s tenure at the Bernabéu.
“People are motivated by having something to aim for and in a situation like that you don’t have anything,” Iniesta said of his battle with depression. “I couldn’t wait for the night to arrive so I could take a pill and relax. When you’re suffering from depression, you’re not yourself. When you’re in a vulnerable situation it’s difficult to control things in your life.”
Iniesta: Mourinho "cultivated Clásico hatred"
Iniesta also discussed the toxic environment surrounding the Clásico and placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of Mourinho.
“Mourinho was the key component in the bad blood between Real Madrid and Barcelona during that time. You did not see it as a standard rivalry, it went beyond that. You saw hatred. That environment was cultivated, and it was unbearable. It did a lot of damage to the Spain team and drove a wedge between our teammates.”
Furthering his observations on the Spain national team, Iniesta explained how he learned of the decision to omit him from the starting line-up of the team that would eventually lose to Russia in the first knock-out stage of the World Cup last summer.
World Cup omission "pissed off" Iniesta
“What starts off badly generally doesn’t end well. When Julen Lopetegui left the team, it had a negative effect. It couldn’t really have gone any other way. Before the [Russia] game the gaffer [Fernando Hierro] spoke to me. But whether he has spoken to me afterwards or before I still didn’t understand the decision and I told him so. I respected it but I did not agree with it. I didn’t care what he said. All I wanted to do was reach the next round. I was pretty pissed off, as you can imagine.”
Iniesta also told a story about his childhood and a moment that might have changed sporting history to an extent: “When I was a kid I supported Albacate and Barça. But one day Barça put seven past us and I threw a tantrum and became a little confused about how I felt about Real Madrid.”