Despite now being one of the veterans of the squad, Andrés Iniesta’s influence remains as strong as ever, as demonstrated with another glowing display in Spain’s Group D opener against Czech Republic on Monday.
The FC Barcelona captain curled in an inch-perfect cross for club colleague Gerard Pique to head home from close range with just three minutes remaining, handing Spain a vital three points.
As well as the assist, Iniesta was the most influential player on the park, conducting the pace of the game from midfield and keeping the Czech side constantly on their toes. As a result of his performance, the 32-year-old was given the man-of-the-match award by UEFA, a prize which has become somewhat common for the midfield maestro.
Iniesta was voted the MVP of the recent Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla and has previously won the award in the Champions League and the European Super Cup at club level.
His most memorable MVP awards for Barça are the one in the European Super Cup against Porto in 2011, the Champions League final in Berlin last year, and this season’s Copa del Rey final.
On the international stage, Iniesta was voted MVP in the World Cup, in the final no less, where he scored the game’s only goal against the Netherlands in 2010 to land Spain the trophy. And two years later, in the Euro 2012 final against Italy, he was again the standout player on the field.