Legendary Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta has spoken candidly about the role his winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final played in helping him through a dark period in his life.
After settling the tense clash between Spain and Holland in Johannesburg in the 116th minute, Iniesta was seen to reveal a shirt which read ‘Dani Jarque Siempre Con Nosotros’ (‘Dani Jarque Always With Us’).
This message was a tribute to Iniesta’s friend and former Espanyol defender and captain Dani Jarque, who had passed away as a result of heart failure the year before the Spaniard’s goal.
Speaking with Bild, Iniesta talked openly about the distress Jarque’s death caused him, and the significance of his goal in South Africa as a turning point which allowed him to move on.
“Unfortunately, I had to experience several misfortunes in a row, even though I was really successful at the time,” recalled Iniesta of the first half of his career at Barcelona.
“But then my friend Dani Jarque died in August 2009, which really put me in such a fragile situation that I needed professional help.
“It was certainly the hardest phase of my life. It was very good for me to have the support of Anna, my then girlfriend and current wife, and of course that of my parents.”
However, Iniesta described his famous goal as “the start of the improvement” for his mental well-being, and went on to emphasise the upward trajectory his life has taken since that moment almost ten years ago.
“Fortunately, this phase is a thing of the past, a phase that made me stronger and better,” stated Iniesta, who is currently playing his football in Japan with Vissel Kobe.