- Full name Andres Iniesta
- Birth date May 11, 1984
- Birth place Albacete, Spain
- Current age 31 years 82 days
- Height 5 ft 7 in
This unassuming midfielder from Albacete has long lived in the shadow of some of his team-mates, but has demanded recognition of his own thanks to his dazzling brilliance for club and country.
After joining Barca from Albacete as a 12-year-old, Iniesta was quickly picked out as a special talent at an early age by none other than Pep Guardiola, with the then-Barca midfielder and current manager famously telling Xavi: "You're going to retire me. This lad is going to retire us all." But Iniesta's quiet approach and willingness to play in a variety of positions meant his contribution was often overlooked in his early years.
But in recent times his humble approach has only further endeared him to a support that revels in watching him on a weekly basis. Alongside the supremely-talented Xavi in midfield, or operating as an auxiliary forward, Iniesta has been one of Barca's most consistent performers and was widely hailed as one of the world's best players when playing an influential role in Barca's historic six trophy season.
He also capped a glorious rise by smashing the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final to take Spain to the title, bookending their triumph with standout appearances in the victorious Euro 2008 and 2012 campaigns and being named player of the tournament in the latter.
Strengths: A wonderful technician and one of the finest exponents of the passing game in Europe, Iniesta also has an admirable willingness to work ceaselessly for his team. His dribbling, vision and poise all catch the eye while his versatility also marks him out as the complete midfielder.
Weaknesses: Like Xavi, his physical attributes are not remarkable, although what he lacks in pace, strength and height he makes up for in intelligence and guile.
Career high: Scoring the goal that won Spain the 2010 World Cup.
Career low: In the summer of 2009, Iniesta was left feeling down due to some persistent injury problems and then saw his friend, Espanyol defender Dani Jarque, die on August 8. "That destroyed me, I cried a lot," said Iniesta.
Style: Versatile, intuitive, masterful, a midfield maestro.
Quotes: "Iniesta is easily Spain's most complete player. He has everything." Barcelona team-mate Xavi, May 2009.
Trivia: Iniesta's hero is former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Denmark star Michael Laudrup, who was a key figure in Johan Cruyff's 'Dream Team' at the Nou Camp in the early 90s, as revealed on his bizarre official website: www.andresiniesta.es
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