Spain vs. Italy: Why Andres Iniesta Is Key to Spanish Victory in Euro 2012 Final
Iniesta is the top midfielder on the Spanish team and is their very own equivalent to a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
The biggest difference between a guy like Iniesta and a guy like Brady is the former's humble, selfless and team-oriented nature.
The Spanish midfielder is known more for his passing than his scoring. However, he has admitted that he could have had more goals but instead of scoring often selflessly passes to someone else instead (h/t Reuters' Iain Rogers):
"Perhaps I should have got more goals than I have," Iniesta told Barcelona's TV channel earlier this year. "Sometimes when you are off the pitch you see a clear chance to score, yet when you are out there you opt for the pass instead. This shouldn't affect my play, but it would make me a better player."
His selfless nature is what makes him a great player.
Spain is full of guys who can score goals; their dominant strikers are a huge reason why they are one of the first teams in history to possibly win three straight Euro titles.
Despite being the de facto team captain for Spain, Iniesta doesn't want to be considered the leader of the team. He's just another piece of the puzzle and says he just tries to do his job (h/t AFP, via The Times of India):
"I have always tried to play my role in this team - but I do not feel myself a leader - I simply feel comfortable in my position," he says modestly.
But the best leaders don't have to think they are the ones in charge.
Sometimes, the best leaders are the ones who go out there and just do their jobs every single play. They keep the morale of their teams up and are always looking for the best shot for their squads.
The biggest measure of a player's leadership is how his teammates view him.
Despite repeatedly saying that he isn't the leader, Iniesta's Barcelona teammate Victor Valdes says that he is one but simply doesn't want the attention (h/t AP, via timesunion.com):
"Andres is a player who has never liked the attention that comes with being called a leader, but he is certainly a leader on the field," Valdes said. "His way of playing, his way of being makes him that, it's just that he rejects this aspect of being called a leader by those outside."
But he is going to be called one.
It's not a bad thing as he is trying to make it out to be, but without Iniesta, there is no question that the Spanish team would be a shell of what it is. Spain would lack the focus and direction that comes with his leadership.
The best leaders—like Iniesta—are willing to let someone else shine for the greater good of their teams.
In this case, Iniesta's desire to see his countrymen have the glory will lead them to the Euro 2012 title.
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