Iniesta: Winning World Cup 2014 would be extremely special

The Spain international was part of the side that won three consecutive international trophies, but believes victory in the tournament hosted in Brazil would be spectacular
Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta says he is already looking forward to World Cup 2014 and has described the thought of winning as "very, very special".

The 28-year-old has been a key part of the Spain squad that have won back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012, with a World Cup success in South Africa sandwiched inbetween.

In an interview with The Guardian, the Roja ace looked ahead to the showpiece tournament in South America, where his country will defend the trophy they lifted two years ago courtesy of his goal against Netherlands in the final.

"It's massive, especially because it is in Brazil with all that means. A World Cup in Brazil is unique," Iniesta said.

"It could be that after winning two European Championships and the World Cup, when maybe you would think there would be nothing else to strive for, this is a gift. Something to fight for. Another title and an achievement that would be very, very special."

When asked about the significance of winning the World Cup bears in comparison to the Ballon d'Or, the recipient of which will be announced in due course, the midfielder added: "Anyone would love to be there.

"Recognition is the World Cup and the European Championships. It's a team sport and they are the team prizes... But of course it would be nice."

It has been a long journey for Iniesta, from when he arrived at La Masia at the age of 12 in 1996, to now contesting the individual honour with club-mate Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo 16 years later.

Speaking about his early days at Barcelona, he said: "Those days were the worst of my life."

"You're 300-odd miles away, you're without your family. You're from a small place where you can walk everywhere and the change is huge. There were lots of nights I thought: 'I want to go home.' [They were] very hard moments. I thought I was never going to make it.

"But you have to be strong. Even at the age of 12 you think: 'I have to fight. I've come this far, there's no going back.'"