Football

Barcelona appoint Andres Iniesta as new captain

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Barcelona have appointed their midfield maestro, Andres Iniesta, as the man to succeed the retired Carles Puyol, as captain of the Catalan club, according to the Marca.

Former captain and new manager, Luis Enrique, was facing a dilemma as to whom he felt would be best suited to succeed Puyol, following a hugely successful 10-year stint at the Camp Nou.

Several candidates

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward, Enrique, had several experienced candidates to choose from, and after careful consideration he decided that Iniesta was the player best suited to dealing with the extra responsibility.

The 30-year old, like his predecessor Puyol, has only ever known one club after joining Barcelona as a 17-year old in 2001, and after expressing his desire to stay at the club for the remainder of his career, Enrique decided that the creative midfielder was the best man for the job.

The former Spanish international, Enrique, called time on his distinguished playing career 10 years ago after more than 400 appearances, for both Real Madrid, and then bitter rivals Barcelona.

His departure from Barcelona after eight successful years, which saw him win eight trophies with the club, paved the way for a period of unprecedented success under the leadership of Carles Puyol, who took over the captaincy reigns from Enrique.

Puyol success

Puyol joined Barcelona as an 18-year old way back in 1996, and made his first team debut in 1999.

By the time the 26-year old Puyol took over the at the captaincy at the end of the 2003/04 season, he was the rock in the heart of the Barcelona defence and courted by most of the world's top clubs.

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His success was instantaneous as he guided his team to the La Liga title in his first season and followed that up with another League title, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Champions League, the following season.

During a 10-year spell as leader of the Catalan club, he won six League titles, two Spanish Cups, six Spanish Super Cups, three UEFA Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA World Club Cups, an incredible run of success that seems impossible to match.

These are the shoes that Iniesta has to fill, although he has vast resources of experience to fall back on.

During a long season, it is inevitable that either Messi, Pique, Mascherano or Xavi will be called upon as senior players, however the new captain is expected to rely heavily on his midfield partner Xavi, who has made a spectacular u-turn and decided to remain at the club for another season.

Iniesta the perfect choice

Pride

Iniesta spoke about his pride in being asked to fulfil the role: "Moments like these make you feel both proud and happy. For those of us who've been in the first-team for a long time and come through the ranks at the club, captaining the first-team is a lifelong dream, another step in your career, proof that you're still improving as a player, although on the flipside, it means you're getting older."

The Spain international added that he is looking forward to being part of his former team-mate's new Barca: "The truth is that I'm really happy to be part of this squad. The experiences you go through, not just on the pitch, but on a personal level, toughen you up; they make you a better person and a better player."

He added: "You learn things and the one thing that's been clear all this time is that I feel I've improved and continued to learn on a yearly basis".



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Topics:
La Liga
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Gerard Pique
Football

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