Double ovation for Iniesta
Andrés Iniesta will never forget Saturday’s game against Espanyol after the home fans gave him a rousing ovation in response to his famous gesture towards the late Dani Jarque in the World Cup Final this summer.
This was a high voltage derby game which most commentators were predicting would be a hard fought
contest as first played fourth in La Liga. There were two moments though, when the Espanyol
fans’ hostility towards their city neighbours turned to respect for one of the most popular
figures in the Spanish game - Andrés Iniesta.
Name echoes round the ground
A Barça player had never before been given such an ovation by Espanyol
fans, but as the loudspeaker announced the names of the Barça team, the booing and whistling turned
to cheers as Iniesta’s name was called out and for 15 seconds his name was chanted in salute
by the home fans. Then it was back to the barracking as the next Barça player was named.
As Andoni Zubizarreta commented at halftime: “it’s things like that which show
football has more things to bring us together than to push us apart”.
Ovation at 1-5
second ovation for the Barça man came after the fifth goal when Guardiola decided to bring him off
and send on Keita. Despite the score line, the Espanyol fans joined Puyol, Xavi, and Valdés amongst
many other players in applauding Iniesta off the pitch.