INIESTA NOMINATED FOR AWARDS

Andres Iniesta has been nominated for the Best Male Athlete award at Laureus. The Spanish football team, which last year won his first World Cup in South Africa, will compete for the award with the New Zealand rugby, the European team for the Ryder Cup of golf, the Inter Milan football, basketball Los Angeles Lakers and the Formula 1 team Red Bull.

INIESTA NOT LEAVING BARCA

Andres Iniesta has quelled rumours that he could leave Barca by saying that he wants to stay. Rumours around the football world were hinting big bucks City had identified the playmaker as their top transfer window purchase, and that Sheikh Mansour was willing to offer Carlos Tevez and a sizeable cash offering to prise Iniesta away from the Catalan club.

Although it would seem ludicrous to part with such an integral part of Barcelona’s extraordinary team, there were whispers the club would listen to offers because of their mounting debts.

INIESTA FAVOURITE

Andreas Iniesta is the favourite to win the Ballon d'Or award for this year. The prize is a golden trophy but all three said they would prefer football boots that light up.

Andreas Iniesta has come in for heavy support and after an initial quote of 5-4, which also doubles as his height, he's now 4-7 favourite with Victor Chandler, with Spain's Xavi 6-4 and Lionel Messi 8-1. Remember this is FIFA - my money's on Sepp Blatter.

AFELLAY DELIGHTED WITH INIESTA COMPARISON

Ibrahim Afellay says that he is delighted with the comparison with Andreas Iniesta. Ibrahim Afellay to Barcelona in January after the club's agreed one a fee for the player. The PSV contract rebel has confirmed that he will not be renewing his contract at the club when his current deal expires at the end of the season, and the Camp Nou giants look to seal a deal for a cut-price €3 million in the winter market.

INIESTA DELIGHTED AT FINAL GOAL

Barcelona star midfielder Andres Iniesta says that he has seen his goal in the World Cup final's over a thousand times. "I watch all my matches many times," the 26-year-old Barcelona playmaker told the Spanish daily El Pais.

"It helps me to improve. Also, they repeat it a lot. So whether I like it or not, I have seen the goal a thousand times," said Iniesta, favourite for the 2010 Golden Ball.

"But the sensation on the pitch is unrepeatable," he added. "Watching it is not the same as scoring it."

Iniesta swept Spain to a thrilling 1-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands on July 11 with an unstoppable strike past the goalkeeper from inside the box four minutes from the end of extra-time.

"There is a goal in that final which is personal, very much mine. What bothers me is that I don't score that many goals and now none of the goals I score will be valued as much as that one."

Iniesta said he knew the ball was going in the moment he struck it.

"I know the defence won't get to it, that the goalkeeper won't get to it... I just have to wait for it to fall, for it to obey Newton's Law," he added. "This time the apple was the ball and Newton's head was my foot."

It was the first World Cup win for Spain, the winners of the 2008 European Championships.

Del Bosque: Iniesta deserves Ballon

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque believes that midfield duo Andres Iniesta and Xavi both deserve the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Xavi and Iniesta were commendable in Spain's 4-0 win over Liechtenstein on Friday night as they led the opposition a merry dance.

Del Bosque recognizes their efforts as La Furia Roja's European Championship defence got off to a flying start.

"Do they deserve the Ballon d'Or? None of us here doubt this. They are both the best in the world," Del Bosque told AS.com.

Iniesta always watching TV

Barcelona star midfielder Andres Iniesta says he has watched his World Cup-winning goal "a thousand times" on television, but it never feels as good as it did on the pitch.

"I watch all my matches many times," the 26-year-old Barcelona playmaker told the Spanish daily El Pais.

"It helps me to improve. Also, they repeat it a lot. So whether I like it or not, I have seen the goal a thousand times," said Iniesta, favourite for the 2010 Golden Ball.

"But the sensation on the pitch is unrepeatable," he added. "Watching it is not the same as scoring it."

Iniesta swept Spain to a thrilling 1-0 World Cup victory over the Netherlands on July 11 with an unstoppable strike past the goalkeeper from inside the box four minutes from the end of extra-time.

"There is a goal in that final which is personal, very much mine. What bothers me is that I don't score that many goals and now none of the goals I score will be valued as much as that one."

Iniesta said he knew the ball was going in the moment he struck it.

"I know the defence won't get to it, that the goalkeeper won't get to it... I just have to wait for it to fall, for it to obey Newton's Law," he added. "This time the apple was the ball and Newton's head was my foot."

Iniesta: Not Me

Spain and Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has responded to comments from Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho regarding his candidacy for the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or by declaring it's not up to the Portuguese trainer.

Mourinho had previously declared that he would give the newly almgamated gong to Inter and Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder, stating that Iniesta wasn't a stand-out player over the course of the season despite having an excellent World Cup finals in South Africa.

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