JOHANNESBURG – Andres Iniesta will always be remembered for the goal that gave Spain its first World Cup title. And when he scored, Iniesta remembered former teammate Daniel Jarque.
Moments after his extra-time goal gave Spain a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in Sunday’s final, Iniesta took off his blue Spain jersey to reveal a white T-shirt bearing the words, “Dani Jarque: siempre con nosotros” – “Dani Jarque: always with us.”
Jarque collapsed and died at the age of 26 on a preseason tour of Italy last year, one month after being named captain of Espanyol.
Iniesta and Jarque were teammates on Spain’s under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 teams.
“I wanted to carry Dani with me,” Iniesta said after picking up his man of the match award. “We wanted to pay tribute to him and we thought it was the best opportunity to do so.”
Iniesta was given a yellow card – the rule when players remove their jerseys – but that was a small price to pay.
“I can’t quite believe it yet,” the 26-year-old Barcelona midfielder said. “I had the opportunity to score that goal which was so important to my team. It’s something absolutely incredible. I simply made a small contribution to my team.”