Be it the FIFA World Cup, Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup or La Liga, you name it, this guy has it.
Yet you will never see an inch of arrogance in his eyes. Always humble and respectful, one of the very few footballers who has never been sent off i.e. never received a red card in his career.
Still confused? Okay, one more hint, he scored the final goal in the extra time to help Spain lift their first World Cup in 2010.
Yes, he's none other than Andrés Iniesta.
Why is he considered one of the best footballers of the era? Let’s find out:
From a boy to a legend:
- Andrés joined Barcelona at the age of 12.
- Played for Spain’s junior side from U16 – U21.
- Won the UEFA U16 Championship in 2001 and U19 after a year.
- After graduating from the academy and rising through the ranks, Iniesta made his first-team debut in the UCL in October 2002 at an early age of 18.
The world witnesses Iniesta’s magic:
From the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola to players like Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi, Kaka, Xavi; Iniesta’s perfect ball control, touch, pass and skills mesmerizes everyone.
He inspires people on the field with his unmatched skills and off the field with this humble nature. After being ‘home’ for over two decades, Iniesta has decided to bid the Camp Nou a long goodbye.
All these qualities along with his dedication and passion for the game have made him one of the most successful playmakers of all time. Some of his achievements include:
- 1 FIFA WORLD CUP 2010
- 4 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (a joint record)
- 2 UEFA SUPER CUP
- 3 FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP
- 9 La Liga
- 6 Copa del Rey
- 6 Spanish Super Cup
- 2 UEFA EURO
- UEFA Best Player in Europe – 2012
- UEFA EURO Player of the Tournament – 2012
- 6 com Fans' Team of the Year (Most by any midfielder)
After winning all this, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that Andres Iniesta is one of the best footballers of the Modern era.
Some lesser known facts about Iniesta:
- Iniesta has admitted that he grew up being a Madrid fan.
- Even after being a major player in Spain National team, Iniesta might have missed the 2010 World Cup due to an injury. But he played because coach followed his instincts and rest is history.
- He is an avid cinema fan.
- Pep Guardiola was Iniesta’s childhood idol who later became his manager.
- Iniesta admires Xavi Hernández, his former team-mate the most.
Why his departure is sad not just for the Barça fans, but for everyone who loves football?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Barça fan or not, when you see that level of football with those perfect touches, accurate passes complimented with just enough power to land the ball into the net from no-matter-what the distance is, it’s bound to leave a smile on your face. And that is exactly why we should be sad because we will never witness that magic again in the Camp Nou.
Since last year, many iconic footballers like Totti, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Gerrard, Lampard, and Pirlo have announced their retirements or left the European football to finish their careers in other continents. Andrés Iniesta’s addition to the list definitely adds more pain for the lovers of this beautiful game. But then, every beautiful story must come to an end. And who knows, maybe all these legends will face off each other as coach in future?
That does sound so exciting, doesn’t it? Anyway, until that happens let’s all bid adieu and wish more success and happiness for the next chapters to come in the life of the elegant playmaker as his departure will really be the ‘end of an era’.