Ten Things You Should Know About...Andres Iniesta
Widely regarded as one the best midfield players of all time Andres Iniesta has been at the hub of the all conquering Spain and Barcelona teams. His interplay with Xavi and Messi has become legendary. Their spell binding, lightening fast interchanges have brought gasps of amazement and joy in stadia all over the World. At times the opposition have been made to look like statues by the magical trio, and make no mistake, Andres Iniesta is a top rank magician!
Here’s some things you might not know about him:
#1. Iniesta was born 11 May 1984 in Fuentealbilla, in the province of Albacete, Spain. Ten years later he joined the academy of local football side Albacete Balompié.
#2 His full name is Andres Iniesta Lujan. Lujan being his maternal family name.
#3. He made his debut for Barcelona on 29 October 2002 against Bruges in the Champions League. His first appearance at the Nou Camp was on 5 January 2003 in a 3-0 win over Huelva in La Liga.
#4 Alongside Barcelona teammate Xavi, Iniesta has been central to the success of the Spanish national team. He starred in the European Championship triumphs of 2008 and 2012, as well World Cup 2010. His progression to national star seemed ineviatable:he played 45 times for the Spain national age group teams ranging from U-15 to U-21, during which he scored 11 goals.
#5. Iniesta’s club career is littered with trophies. He has won six La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, six Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA World Club Cups. Most famously of all are his three Champions League triumphs against Arsenal(2005-06), and Manchester United(2008-09;10-11)
#6. Let's raise a glass to the hero of Catalonia! Wine is a passion of Iniesta. In fact he likes it so much he got a vineyard and now, alongside his father José Antonio, he produces acclaimed wines such as Finca el Carril, Corazon Loco , and Hechicero Crianza.
#7. Pep Guardiola, then midfield general of Barcelona was watching the young Iniesta in one of his first training sessions with the club. He turned to Xavi and said “You’re going to retire me. This lad is going to retire us all.”
#8.”El Ilusionista”. The Illusionist is an apt nickname for such an elegant footballer famed for his dribbling skills and passing talents . He has also been dubbed “the Choir Boy” and, in a dig at Real Madrid, “the Anti-Galactico”.
#9 In 2013 Iniesta saved hometown team Albacete from relegation from Segunda B. The club were unable to pay what they owed to the players and faced demotion as a penalty. Iniesta stepped in and stumped up the £200,000 needed.
#10 Iniesta scored, what was to be, the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final. In front of 84,490 spectators at SoccerCity, Johannesburg, and with just four minutes of extra time left, Cesc Fabregas passed to Iniesta who half-volleyed the ball home. All Spain celebrated.
And here’s one more to make it a football eleven:
#11. Andres Iniesta is the ultimate team player. He sums up his philosophy like this: “My personal objectives are collective objectives. Individual prizes are not important.”