There will be no old pals act from Giovanni van Bronckhorst as he looks to end his career in spectacular style by lifting the World Cup when Holland face Spain in Johannesburg.
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The Soccer City encounter means a reunion with a number of familiar faces for the 35-year-old Dutch skipper, who spent four years with Barcelona before leaving the Nou Camp in 2007.
“I still have contact with Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta,” said Van Bronckhorst.
“I used to share a room with Carles before Barcelona games and we saw a lot of each other away from the football club.
“We have actually already been on the phone offering each other best wishes and it will be nice to say goodbye on Sunday face-to-face.
“But my boyhood dream is something more important so they will have to make do with a silver medal this time.”
Van Bronckhorst is full of admiration for the trio, adding: “Carles is normally a very quiet boy but when he goes onto the field it is like pressing a button.
“He is a guy who always gives everything, a real Gladiator. And that radiates forward to his team-mates.
“When I was at Barcelona, Xavi was one of the leaders of the group. He always had an opinion, whereas Andres was very quiet.
“I have thought about those guys a lot recently. But now I have the opportunity to be a world champion.”
Van Bronckhorst scored with a spectacular long-range strike in Holland’s semi-final win over Uruguay and is 12/1 with Blue Square to again hit the back of the net versus Spain.