Andres Iniesta has been hailed as one of Barcelona’s greatest footballers. Retiring at the La Liga cup final last night, the prominent midfielder bid farewell to the team that once served as captain.
Here are a few reasons why Don Andres will always be celebrated at Barca:
1.Iniesta has had a long and glorious career
Andres Iniesta began at Barcelona at age 18. Playing in the Spanish League, he has now retired 22 years later. He also played for the Spanish national side, making his international debut in 2006. His flair and discipline saw Iniesta rise to the top at a very young age. As Iniesta arrived at Barcelona from La Masia, the captain at the time Pep Guardiola famously told fellow midfielder Xavi Hernandes “You’re going to retire me. This lad [Iniesta] is going to retire us all.”
2. Iniesta Play Proved Football Could Be More Mental Rather Than Physical
Known as one of the most prolific midfielders of all time. Iniesta also was known as El Illusionista is comfortable in various positions on the pitch, a skill that cannot be discounted. With a wholesome approach to football, Iniesta has made a career for himself as a player who is highly skilled on the pitch due to his ability to play a mental game, as well as occupy any position on the pitch. Vicente del Bosque described him as “the complete footballer. He can attack and defend, he creates and scores.” To his credit, he ushered in a new style of play that encouraged versatility and championed a mental game over physicality. Among his most memorable plays is the iconic goal in Spain versus Netherlands World Cup final in 2010.
3.Iniesta Led from the Front
Andres has been Barcelona Captain since 2014. Working with various key players such as Xavi Hernandes and Pep Guardiola, he has been integral to the workings of the Barca team. Building on respect, teamwork and trust Iniesta’s play and relationships on and off the pitch show a man of great character any Barca fan can attest to.
4. The Barca Tiki Taka
Iniesta’s departure from Barcelona was marked by incredible highlights in his career. With 728 career appearances, Iniesta always made the most of his time on the pitch. He enjoyed a spectacular interplay with fellow teammates Xavi, Messi and it was improved with the coaching of Pep Guardiola. According to a BBC interview, Barcelona teammate Giovanni van Bronckhorst said of the pair, “They have a special relationship, they always have, they just seem to know where the other one is.” Between Xavi and Iniesta, and Messi Barcelona truly had a Barca Triad.