Andrés Iniesta was born and raised in Fuentealbilla, Spain.
Iniesta is a Catholic, and though it isn’t something that comes up much during football-related interviews, it was revealed in an interesting and slightly strange way that he is quite devoted to his faith.
In 2010, Iniesta scored the winning goal in the World Cup football championship game. That’s enough to make even the most lapsed Catholic cross themselves in gratitude! But that’s not what happened. The Spanish newspaper, Marca, in a publicity stunt, asked Spain’s football players what they would promise to do if they happened to win the 2010 world cup and send it to them in a sealed envelope–only to be opened in the unlikely event of a championship title.
When Spain did win, Iniesta’s envelope was opened to reveal that he had promised to take a Catholic pilgrimage known as the “Way of St. James.” This involves walking a particular road that leads to the town of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Apparently, the pilgrimage is legit with the pope going along for the festivities that same year.1
Iniesta seems largely non-political. In the many articles I’ve written in this vein, it seems that football players are mostly immune to politics.
It was thought that Iniesta was making a political statement upon his decision to continue living in the Spanish region of Catalonia–a state some residents wish to be an independent nation–despite having grown up in the province of Albacete, Spain. When Iniesta was asked about it, he denied any political motivations, saying:
Is not a political issue, but feelings. I am proud to have been born in Fuentealbilla and I am here for the simple fact that [I have lived] sixteen years in Catalonia… my parents and my sister are here, my wife is here and my daughter was born here… although it is clear that whoever does not understand it [is simply] not going to understand.2
Too bad, it would have been pretty cool for such a famous footballer to support Catalonian independence.
- Soccer player who scored winning goal promises to make pilgrimage. Catholic News Agency. [↩]
- Andrés Iniesta: “it is not a political issue, I am in Catalonia because I’ve been 16 years here.” The Delta World. [↩]