Profile of a legend: Andres Iniesta
Coral look over the Barcelona ace’s career
Not many players enjoy the success and longevity afforded to Andres Iniesta in his near lifelong affiliation with Barcelona.
The Spaniard has been synonymous with the Catalan club for well over a decade. He’s won everything there is to win in the game – and he’s done it with verve, class and style.
But after 15 years at the very top, the curtain will come down on Iniesta’s glittering career at the Camp Nou on Sunday, when the 34-year-old plays his final ever game for the club against Real Sociedad.
Ahead of his final appearance, the Coral News Team have taken a look at the midfielder’s achievements, along with just what made him such a special player.
Trophies and awards
The mark of a truly great player can be found via the contents of their trophy cabinet. And Iniesta’s is at bursting point.
In 15 years at Barcelona, the 5ft 7in ace has won 32 major honours. That haul includes nine La Liga titles, four Champions League trophies and six Copa del Rey victories.
Over a third of Barcelona’s major honours in their entire history have been won with Iniesta as the lynchpin of the midfield.
Add in his inclusion in the FIFA FifPro World XI every year since 2009, and you get a sense of just how incredible a player the Spaniard has been in his decade-and-a-half at the top.
His success has not just been confined to the club game, though. In 2010, he was part of the immortal group that clinched Spain’s first-ever World Cup success in South Africa.
Two European Championship triumphs in-between only increase his stature as the most decorated Spanish footballer of all-time.
Iniesta’s achievements are impressive enough on face value alone. But add in the way he won them with the teams he was a part of, and his status is elevated to an even greater level.
The Fuentealbilla-born star was and remains the flag-bearer of Barcelona’s iconic style.
His ability to glide across the football pitch and dictate the pace and tempo of a game has lead him to be revered as one of the sport’s true greats.
Though without any real power, Iniesta is able to compensate thanks to his incredible vision and spatial awareness.
The game stands still when Iniesta has the ball at his feet. It should really come as no surprise that the great technician is a product of the famed La Masia youth academy.
Relationships and teams
Perhaps the greatest testament to his ability is that without Iniesta in the side, Lionel Messi does not operate in quite the same way.
The pair have an almost telepathic understanding to the point where Iniesta has previously claimed he knows where the Argentina ace is without looking.
They were part-responsible for Barcelona’s renaissance under Frank Rijkaard in the mid-2000s. And the subsequent domination imposed by Pep Guardiola’s tika-taka style from 2008-2012.
During that time, Iniesta and co-produced some of the best passing football the world has ever seen. His relationship with Xavi, too, in the middle of the park cannot go understated.
Now 34-years-old, the dynamic playmaker has continued to flourish well into the Autumn of his career. He’s made 40 appearances in all but one season since the 2004-05 campaign.
And with over 670 appearances in total for the Catalan club, he will end his Barca career as the second-most represented player in the history of the club, behind only the aforementioned Xavi.
His farewell on Sunday is sure to be emotional and tinged with a touch of sadness. But most importantly, it’ll be a celebration of one of the game’s true greats, and a true Barcelona legend.
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