Iniesta says World Cup-winning strike helped in his depression battle

‘My friend Dani Jarque died… the goal was the start of the improvement’: Andres Iniesta reveals World Cup-winning strike helped in his battle with depression after bereavement which required professional help

  • Andres Iniesta scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final
  • He took his shirt off in celebration and dedicated it to his friend Dani Jarque
  • Iniesta has been open about battling depression after his Jarque’s passing
  • The midfielder sought professional help to cope with the bereavement process 

Andres Iniesta has revealed that his World Cup-winning goal against Holland in 2010 played a key role in his battle with depression.

The Barcelona and Spain icon suffered ‘one of the hardest phases’ of his life with Dani Jarque, a former Espanyol midfielder and close friend to Iniesta, died suddenly aged 26 following a heart attack in 2009.

Iniesta has been open and honest about the ‘fragile situation’ that Jarque’s death placed him in as he tried to grieve for his friend.  

Andres Iniesta marked his World Cup final goal in 2010 with a tribute to friend Dani Jarque after the former Espanyol midfielder died aged 26 following a heart attack the year before

Iniesta believes that goal was ‘the beginning’ of his improvement in his battle with depression

But speaking about his winning goal in South Africa a decade ago in which he netted before revealing a tribute written on his undershirt for Jarque, Iniesta pinpoints that moment as key in bringing positivity back to his life. 

The tribute shirt in South Africa read: ‘Dani Jarque, siempre con nosotros’ (Dani Jarque, always with us). 

Speaking to Bild am Sonntag, Iniesta said: ‘Unfortunately, I had to experience several misfortunes in a row, even though I was really successful at the time. 

Jarque (right) was very close to Iniesta and his death became very troubling for his friend 

‘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.’

The game was in the balance in that final before Iniesta stepped up to be the hero for Spain in a moment he has described as ‘the beginning of the improvement.’

‘Fortunately, this phase is a thing of the past,’ he continued. ‘A phase that made me stronger and better.’ 

Despite being among the most decorated players in Barcelona and Spanish football history, Iniesta, now playing out in Japan with Vissel Kobe has found it important to be clear and honest about his mental health struggles. 

As well as the 2010 World Cup, he won two European Championships with Spain and at Barcelona he lifted four Champions League titles and nine LaLigas.  

Iniesta’s goal sealed the World Cup and he thinks that moment helped him move forward

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