Happy 37th birthday, Andres Iniesta.
The Barcelona legend is without question one of the greatest midfielders to have played the sport, a slick operator who regularly dictated games at the very highest level.
In his prime, Iniesta was virtually unplayable for both club and country, with his outrageous dribbling skills regularly humiliating the rest of the best.
The World Cup winner’s low centre of gravity and quick feet made him an absolute nightmare to defend, as Real Madrid often found out.
One clip in particular from his days partaking in El Clasico perfectly illustrates his uncanny ability to make high-class players look decidedly average.
The footage below of Iniesta spinning away from Xabi Alonso and charging towards the Real Madrid box was captured by a fan and it highlights just how quick his brain and feet work in tandem.
Imagine trying to defend against that…
Alonso is one of the finest defensive midfielders the beautiful game has ever seen, but he simply had no answer to Iniesta’s genius.
Back in 2018, Alonso heaped praise on his former Spain colleague, labelling ‘Don Andres’ as an “idol for everyone”.
“Andres can do anything he wants, Andres is an idol for everyone,” Alonso, who won three major international trophies alongside Iniesta for Spain, told Omnisport, per FourFourTwo.
“I have to be grateful for life with him for what he gave to us, to everyone; that magical goal. He can do anything he wants. He will have the admiration of everyone.”
Well said, Xabi.
Few players in history are more respected and admired than Iniesta, with the Vissel Kobe midfielder receiving the prestigious honour of a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015.
Those of us who got to watch the Spaniard at his peak are very lucky indeed.
(Credit: The Football Terrace)