Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane believes departing Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta deserved to win the Ballon d’Or during his career.
Iniesta confirmed on Friday that he will be leave Barca at the end of the season, bringing to an end his long and successful association with the Catalan club.
The midfielder is on course to win the LaLiga title for a ninth time in his swansong campaign, having already won a sixth Copa del Rey last week, while he has also lifted the Champions League trophy four times while at Barca.
Yet Zidane believes it is Iniesta’s success with Spain – most notably his winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final against Netherlands – that should have led to him scooping the game’s biggest individual honour.
“The two or three times that I coincided with him is charming because he is very reserved,” the Frenchman told the media ahead of Madrid’s LaLiga game with Leganes.
“I like the people who show everything on the field and outside they are calmer. I only have good words towards him and admiration for his football.
“I wish him the best as a footballer and person. He deserved the Ballon d’Or, especially when he won the World Cup.”
Iniesta has yet to confirm his next move, though he has been heavily linked with Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan.
As well as the World Cup, he was also a key part of the Spanish teams who won Euro 2008 and Euro 2012