Thursday March 6 2014
Iniesta: 'Italy among the favourites'

Andres Iniesta maintains “Italy remain one of the favourites” to win the 2014 World Cup despite their friendly defeat to Spain.

“Italy deserve great respect for their history and their current players,” said the midfielder following last night’s game.

“They always try to start the play from the back, with Gigi Buffon passing to the centre-backs. Not all national teams do that.

“Since Cesare Prandelli took over, he has tried to push forward the idea of achieving results via good football and it’s no coincidence that every time we face Italy it is tough to get the ball off them and stop them playing.

“As far as I am concerned, Italy remain one of the favourites for the World Cup.”

Iniesta was asked if there were any Azzurri he’d like to take with him to play for Spain.

“Of course I believe my own teammates are the best, so I wouldn’t want anyone else. I have a lot of respect for Andrea Pirlo, who is a legend, and Daniele De Rossi has been playing at a high level for a long time.

“Mario Balotelli? He is a great player, but as I said I believe my teammates are the best.”