Barcelona will be bidding farewell to another legend at the end of the season. Andres Iniesta lifted 31 official titles with the Blaugrana and will be remembered as one of the all-time greatest midfielders. The superstar came through the famous La Masia academy and departs Barcelona as one of the club’s most notable players. Iniesta joins Carles Puyol, Victor Valdes and Xavi Hernandez as recent stars who came through the ranks and departed Camp Nou after serving the club for so many years.
We find that most players today start and finish their careers at different clubs, a common theme in modern day club soccer. Players may leave a club for various reasons, such as searching for new challenges, pursuing more trophies or simply after finding themselves falling down in the pecking order at the club. However, Iniesta has endured a sensational career with one of the biggest clubs in the world. His departure marks an end to an era of great players who played for a single team and he leaves a true legend.
After 22 years in Catalonia, the 33-year-old has lifted every major title in the sport. Beloved not only in Barcelona, but also throughout Spain after scoring the game winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final and lifting the European Championship twice. He can honestly walk away from Barcelona and Spain knowing he’s left everything on the pitch.
His list of awards and silverware as a player and for the club is most impressive. Iniesta won the Champions League four times throughout his extensive career while making 132 appearances. He was part of nine La Liga and six Copa del Rey titles and was named in numerous La Liga awards including Team of the Season.
Iniesta has played under eight managers and watched the club progress throughout the years. He made his debut under Louis van Gaal and continued his stellar career playing for Frank Rijkaard, Radomir Antic, Tito Vilanova, Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Gerardo Martino, and most recently, Ernesto Valverde.
The Spaniard’s storybook career with Barcelona is one which will go down in history. He provided a spark in every match for the Catalan giants but a few moments will never be forgotten. Whether you loved him or hated him, every soccer fan around the world will have an Iniesta match which they can’t forget.
Here are just a few:
The 2009 Champions League final will always hold a bitter taste for Chelsea fans as they fell victim to Iniesta’s rocket of a goal which sent them through to the Final where they eventually beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy.
The First Treble
Iniesta provided another thriller for the Blaugrana in 2009 when he helped his side against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. The 6-2 victory broke the hearts of every Madrid fan and was a major victory which helped Pep Guardiola clinch the treble.
The Goodbye Final
The last match before his announcement to leave the club gave fans a glimpse of the young Iniesta. The 33-year-old added yet another trophy to the club’s ever-growing cabinet when they dismantled Sevilla 5-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano. A goal in his last final was something of the past as the superstar midfielder still looks to have a bit of gas left in the tank.
Barcelona are known for being a possession-based club and had the luxury of having Iniesta create magic in the middle of the pitch for the last two decades. He is truly irreplaceable and will never be forgotten. The universally loved player leaves massive shoes to fill at the end of the season.
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