Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta insists he will be fit for Champions League final | Football

I havent been participating as much as before this season but it has been extraordinary. But if Iniesta starts Xavi almost certainly will not; if Xavi starts, it would be because Iniesta could not, although when that idea was put to Xavi he shot back laughing: Ah, youre the manager?

Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets lined up together to face the media. The image of him lifting the Champions League would be the perfect finale for him, for Barcelona and for all his team-mates. Iniesta is expected to take part on Wednesday.

The idea that I might not be there on Saturday is not even crossing my mind, Iniesta said. Its been dream. Its been a spectacular season, [perfect] for a unique player for him to leave in the best way. Few midfields have so defined an identity but they are unlikely to line-up together from the start on Saturday. Theyll continue to make history.. At one point, Xavi gestured towards his team-mates and said: Im going but these two will still be here. Iniesta was not among them. In fact, its been something I hadnt even dared to dream of.

Related: Michael Ballack: Barcelonas front three are a little bit like divas

Iniesta admitted the imminent departure of his friend and role model provided even greater motivation against Juventus, helping, as it would, the 35-year-old leave with a 25th career trophy. Its my last game and it is a Champions League final. Hopefully all will go well and I will be able to help to finish a very special season.

Andres Iniesta insists the prospect of missing the Champions League final against Juventus has not crossed his mind, despite the calf strain that saw him depart early from the final of the Copa del Rey and sit out the penultimate session at Barcelonas San Joan Desp training ground on Tuesday morning.

The midfielders presence is the only doubt for Luis Enrique, who stood accused early in the season of rotating too often but whose side has been stable since the turn of the year and now stands on the verge of a treble in his debut season at Camp Nou.

It would be perfect for Xavi to leave with the European Cup. We welcome that extra motivation.

Any further doubts about the Barcelona line-up seemed resolved by the final minutes of the session on the training pitch that carries the name of the late coach Tito Vilanova. He was replaced by Xavi Hernndez, preparing for what would be his 900th and final game for Barcelona. Eleven players relaxed in the sun while the rest of the squad worked the same 11 who will start the final, pending Iniestas return to fitness.

He added: Whether its on the pitch, on the bench or in the stands, it will be extraordinary, said Xavi, who recalled how he had watched the 1992 final at home while his older brothers headed to Wembley and who has won the competition three times as a player

Elise Hawkins

Elise Hawkins

Going to horse racing events on Sunday used to be something that only the elite class of society was able to do. It used to be an activity where men would go with their male friends, their wives and sometimes their business associates to enjoy an afternoon of horse racing.
Elise Hawkins

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