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On October 29th 2002, Andres Iniesta made his Barça first team debut in a Champions League game away to Bruges
Through ten photos in the “Revista Barça” Iniesta looks back at ten decisive moments in a career that has led him to become a key piece of one of the best Barça teams ever
This Monday, October 29th, marks ten years since Andres Iniesta made his first team debut for the Club. In the latest edition of the Club magazine Revista Barça, the Spanish midfielder reflects on those ten glorious years that have given us so many memorable moments – both for him personally and the Club as a whole – via a series of ten photos of those magic moments.
The excitement of his first training session with his heroes, his first game at the Camp Nou, the emotion of that first Champions League win in Paris, and the award from UEFA in August as last year’s player of the season… just some of the examples of the memories the photos evoke.
FIRST TRAINING SESSION
5th February 2001. “It’s a lovely memory – Wow I look really fat! That was the day my dream of training with my heroes came true. It was a special day for me. When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it! I want to thank Serra Ferrer once again for the opportunity he gave me”.
DEBUT IN BRUGES
29th October 2002. “I felt very comfortable that day. There were a lot of B team players who went on the trip, because we had already got through to the next round. It’s a dream to make your first team debut – thank you Van Gaal. I’d been training with them since the start of the season and I think I played a decent game”.
FIRST GAME AT THE CAMP NOU
5th January 2003. “The team had changed a lot and it was a very difficult situation. I had a similar feeling to Bruges – I was brought up at the Club and being able to play at the Camp Nou was something so special. It was a game against Recre and we won quite easily(3-0)”
IMPORTANT GOAL IN VALLADOLID
11th April 2004. “It’s a curious image. I have a great friendship with Victor - he’s my best friend. He was so happy that he ran the length of the pitch to celebrate the goal with me. It looks like he wanted to kill me, but it is a photo that just shows pure emotion. We were celebrating the goal that made it 1-3”.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WIN IN PARIS
17th May 2006. “It was the first big title we won. I have very good memories of the second half I put in(he came on at the break in place of Edmílson]. It’s such a special trophy…fortunately it wasn’t the last time we would win it”.
6th May 2006. “A unique moment, something I will always remember. It was one of those moments when everyone knew where they were, what they were doing and how to react. I feel privileged to have scored and lived that moment. It is the maximum expression of happiness, intensity and emotion. It’s virtually impossible to beat a moment like that”.
13th April 2010. “I got injured in training and missed the climax to the season. It’s the worst thing that can happen to you as a player because it stops you doing what you enjoy. Fortunately, I was able to recover in time for the World Cup”.
BARÇA’S BALLON D’OR
6th December 2010. “It was the day that they announced that we three were the finalists for the Ballon D’Or. I don’t know if that will ever happen again. It was unique, not just for the players, but for who we are and what we represent for Barça and for what Barça represents for us”.
A SPECIAL DEDICATION
6th April 2011. “It was Champions League game against Shaktar and I scored in the first minute. The photo was taken two days after Valeria was born. She is someone who has changed my life, filled me with happiness and made me understand things from a different perspective. I hope I can dedicate many more moments like that to her.
30th August 2012. “I’m with my family, but my dad isn’t there because he really doesn’t like planes. He’s always with me though, even if he’s not there physically. I don’t play to win individual awards - that’s just a small part of football. To be on the podium with Cristiano and Leo is a prize in itself”.
Andrés Iniesta is the star of Barça Magazine this month after winning the Best Player in Europe Award
The midfielder sits down with Barça Magazine to talk about his decade-long career with FC Barcelona, the team's style of play and the most influential figures in his development
“I have been and continue to be in the ideal club to grow as a player - this is why I’m the player I am today. I have no doubt,” said Andrés Iniesta in an interview with Barça Magazine on Thursday. The midfielder also touched on the evolving nature of football, his decade-long career with FC Barcelona and the importance of winning within a football philosophy.
Barça’s style of play and the importance of winning
When asked about how opponents deal with Barça’s style of play, Iniesta noted that “teams are better prepared physically and technically. Football has changed tactically. I wish it were not so, because now it’s more difficult to surprise our opponents.” The midfielder also commented that “we’ll never lose the talent in football, this is the essence of the sport.”
“It’s important to believe in a style of play, in a player profile, but it always has to be married to success. We can’t forget that without succeeding, the story is different.” Iniesta is no foreigner to success as he’s racked up 22 team titles in his career not to mention being named the MVP of the 2012 Euro and winning the 2012 Best Player in Europe Award, among many others. “When I stop, I can only think that my wildest dreams can’t measure up to what has happened to me. It’s impossible. My only dream was to play at the highest level, to play for the first team. What has happened to me simply brilliant.”
His first game at the Camp Nou and the influential figures that shaped his career
Louis van Gaal, the manager the led FC Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga titles from 1997 to 1999, was the man to give Iniesta his first taste of FC Barcelona first team football. “I’m very grateful for what Van Gaal did for me,” said Iniesta, who added: “with him I played six games before he was sacked. I learned a lot during this period. Sometimes agitated situations, when you’re young, can leave you a bit lost and make you lose sight of the goal of reaching the first team, but it helped me continue my formation [as a player].”
When asked about his formation as a footballer at Can Barça, Iniesta said: “I don’t know if I would be the same player that I am today if I had played somewhere else, I don’t know if I would be better or worse,” said Iniesta, “but I have been and continue to be in the ideal club to grow as a player - this is why I’m the player I am today. I have no doubt.”
Iniesta’s first game at the Camp Nou, when he was 15 years old, was the final of the Nike International Premier Cup. The midfielder noted that the four men that have had an immense impact on his development attended the match: Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, the manager that called him up for training sessions with the first team when he was 16; Louis van Gaal, who named him to the starting team in the Champions League match against Club Brugge; Frank Rijkaard, key manager in Iniesta’s development as a first team player, and Pep Guardiola, who not only awarded Iniesta with the Nike International Premier Cup trophy but also guided the player to the pinnacle of football.
The '8 'club receives recognition in the Barça fans before the game against Valencia, to achieve the trophy credited as the UEFA Best Player in Europe
Enjoy a full view of one of the happiest days of Andres Iniesta
The Barça midfielder edged out Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the award that distinguishes him as the best player in Europe
Andrés Iniesta is the winner of the 2012 UEFA Best Player Award. The FC Barcelona midfielder was selected by a jury of 53 sports journalists from all of UEFA’s participant football federations.
It’s worth noting that the three finalists for this year's award were selected by the same jury. Last year, Leo Messi won the award with 39 of the 53 overall votes.
During UEFA's Champions League group stage draw, the jury of 53 sports journalists will name the winner of the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award 2012. The three finalists are Messi, Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo
The final round of voting will take place during the Champions League draw
Leo Messi and Andrés Iniesta will attend UEFA’s Champions League group-stage draw this Thursday in Monaco. The ceremony starts at 17.45. The two Barça players are on the shortlist for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award 2012. The winner will be announced during the ceremony. Messi, the winner of the inaugural edition of the award, and Iniesta, are competing with Cristiano Ronaldo for the accolade.
The three finalists were selected by a jury made up of 53 sports journalists from UEFA’s member federations. In the first round of voting, each journalist turned in a list of his/her five favourite players; the first name on the list received five points, the second received four, and so on. The final voting process, which will be done live via an electronic system, will begin during the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.
Second time for Messi; Iniesta’s first
FC Barcelona are once again represented by two of its players in the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. In the first edition of the award, Messi, Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo were the three finalists. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are back on the shortlist for this year’s award, while Iniesta makes his debut as a finalist.