A creative midfielder of extraordinary footballing quality, Iniesta stood out for his pure talent and his intelligence. Small in stature and elusive, his incredible skills on the ball made him a vital part of the blaugrana system. It is not for nothing that he is considered one of the greatest Spanish players of all time.
He came to the Club in 1996/97 to join the U14 squad after having played at previous youth levels at his home town club of Albacete: at 12 years of age, everyone who saw him play was immediately aware of what a talent he was. After moving up through the U16 and U19 sides, Iniesta made his debut for the first team under coach Louis Van Gaal on 29 October 2002 while he was still a member of the Barça B squad. His first appearance came in a 1-0 victory in the Champions League away at Club Brugge in Belgium.
Since then, Iniesta future as a player was forever linked to that glorious period in which Barça won trophy after trophy whilst at the same time dazzling the fans with the football they played under Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova, Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde. It was a remarkable time for the blaugranes with the calming presence of Iniesta in the midfield a vital part of that success. His last minute equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that gave Barça a place in the 2009 Champions League final will forever form part of the Club’s history.
He left the Club on a high having completed the league and Copa del Rey double in the 2017/18 season. In his time at Barça Andrés Iniesta claimed no less than 32 trophies as a blaugrana and the man from Fuentealbilla will always have a place in the heart of every Barça fan. As the former Spain national team coach Vicente del Bosque said, “Iniesta will always be an example of how to play and how to behave as a professional.”
Iniesta has a street named after him and a statue in his home town of Fuentealbilla to honour his goal in the 2010 World Cup final that gave Spain their first ever win in the competition. Furthermore, a Barça supporters’ club has been created that bears his name.