Andres Iniesta was a footballing magician in his prime.
The Spaniard’s 16-year stint in Barcelona‘s first-team is the stuff of legend and he left in 2018 with 30 trophies to his name, including nine La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
Iniesta was the ultimate big-game player in Catalonia and his unquestionable brilliance cannot be described using numbers.
From a goals and assists perspective, the current captain of Vissel Kobe is certainly not among the very best in history.
In his 673 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions, Iniesta scored just 58 times and contributed the assist on 138 occasions.
For an attack-minded player with his talent, those numbers aren’t the best, but what he produced on the pitch is near enough impossible to replicate.
Iniesta would regularly kickstart attacks from deep with a mazy dribble or a pass through the eye of a needle and would also control the tempo of the game with his supreme intelligence.
And whenever he did play a part in a goal for Barcelona, it was nearly always a thing of beauty.
Perhaps the best contribution of the lot came during the Blaugrana’s 2014/15 Champions League run.
The World Cup winner gracefully covered three-quarters of the pitch, leaving several opposing players trailing in his wake.
He then played an inch-perfect pass into Neymar, who took the ball round the goalkeeper and tapped into an empty net.
It’s a goal that should be hung up in a museum…
Video: Iniesta’s magical assist for Neymar vs PSG
We could watch that video clip on repeat for hours on end.
Iniesta on the ball was pure ‘poetry in motion’ and there’s still no other player in the world quite like ‘El Ilusionista’.
Barcelona’s teenage sensation Pedri Gonzalez is perhaps the closest thing to him in the present day, although even he doesn’t have the same Midas touch that Iniesta possessed quite yet.
Pedri certainly has time on his side, though…