Lopetegui: We’re excited about seeing Iniesta in Russia

  • ​Andres Iniesta turns 34 before Russia 2018

  • Julen Lopetegui has hailed the form of his Spain playmaker

  • "He has won over fans at every single stadium he's played at’

Julen Lopetegui has expressed his satisfaction at the form of the evergreen Andres Iniesta. The man whose goal won Spain the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Final turns 34 in May, but he is showing no signs of slowing down as Russia 2018 approaches.

Iniesta capped an imperiously inventive display in Saturday’s Copa del Rey decider with a gorgeous goal – he played a one-two with Lionel Messi, employed an exquisite dummy to leave goalkeeper David Soria on the floor, and slotted the ball home from a tight angle – that helped Barcelona win 5-0. He then received a standing ovation from both sets of supporters at the Wanda Metropolitano upon his late substitution, and was named man of the match.

"He has won over fans at every single stadium he's played at," said Lopetegui of his Spain playmaker. “Andres has had a very good season, like he did the one before, and he has always played at the highest level with us.

“We are delighted that he keeps playing this well and are excited about him keeping it up at the World Cup. We're going to enjoy having him with us.”

Spain open their Russia 2018 campaign against Portugal on 15 June. They will also face Iran and Morocco in Group B.

Iniesta requires one more appearance to tie Andoni Zubizarreta (126) in joint-fourth on Spain’s list of most-capped players, behind Xavi (133), Sergio Ramos (151) and Iker Casillas (167).

Russia 2018 will be Spain’s 11th World Cup in succession – a figure bettered only by Argentina (12), Germany (17) and Brazil (21).

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