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Andrés Iniesta

Andrés Iniesta Luján (; born 11 May 1984) is a Spanish people Association football player. Andrés Iniesta currently plays as a midfielder for La Liga club FC Barcelona, and the Spain national football team.

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Andrés Iniesta biography

Andrés Iniesta Luján (; born 11 May 1984) is a Spanish people Association football player. Andrés Iniesta currently plays as a midfielder for La Liga club FC Barcelona, and the Spain national football team.

Iniesta came through La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy, and impressed from an early age. Andrés Iniesta made Andrés Iniesta first-team debut in 2002, aged 18. Andrés Iniesta began playing regularly during the 2004–05 La Liga, and has remained in the side ever since. Andrés Iniesta was an integral part of the The_Sextuple The_Sextuple Barcelona side in 2009, the only time which a club has achieved six titles in a year. Andrés Iniesta contract with Barcelona runs until 2015.

Iniesta played for Spain at Under-16, Under-19 and Under-21 levels, before making Andrés Iniesta international debut in 2006. Andrés Iniesta was selected for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, playing one game, as Spain went out in the second round. Andrés Iniesta helped Spain qualify for UEFA Euro 2008, and played an important role in the side as they went on to win the competition, playing every game and being selected in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. Iniesta was selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and was a key member of the victorious Spanish side; Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final against the Netherlands national football team, also being named Man of the Match, and was selected in the tournament's 2010_FIFA_World_Cup All-Star_Team.

Club career

Early career

Iniesta comes from a small village named Fuentealbilla in the province of Province of Albacete, Castile-La Mancha. At the age of 12, while playing for Albacete in a junior seven-a-side tournament in Brunete, Andrés Iniesta attracted the attention of scouts from many clubs around Spain. Andrés Iniesta parents knew the FC Barcelona youth team coach, Enrique Orizaola, and Andrés Iniesta persuaded them to consider sending Iniesta to the Barcelona youth academy. Iniesta travelled there with Andrés Iniesta parents and visited La Masia, the Spanish farmhouse where the team house their young players; the trip convinced them to enroll Iniesta in the Barcelona youth ranks. Iniesta says Andrés Iniesta "cried rivers" the day Andrés Iniesta left for La Masia and struggled being separated from Andrés Iniesta parents; Andrés Iniesta was very shy and kept to himself while there.

Andrés Iniesta captained the Barcelona Under-15 team to victory in the Manchester United Premier Cup of 1999, scoring the winning goal in the last minute of the final, and being named player of the tournament. The trophy was presented by one of Iniesta's idols: the then first-team captain Josep Guardiola, whose poster hung above Iniesta's bed. As a manager, Guardiola would make Xavi and Iniesta the heart of Andrés Iniesta the treble-winning Barcelona side of 2009, a decade after Andrés Iniesta famous prediction.

Iniesta rose through the club's youth teams and, by the age of 16, was already the key player for FC Barcelona B. Barcelona manager Louis van Gaal handed Iniesta Andrés Iniesta senior first-team debut in October 2002, in a UEFA Champions League group game against Club Brugge K.V.. Andrés Iniesta appeared ten times in the La Liga 2003–04, starting in five of the games and scoring once as Barcelona finished second behind Valencia CF.


In the 2004–05 La Liga season Iniesta featured in 37 out of 38 league games—more than any other player—although 25 of these were substitute appearances. Andrés Iniesta scored twice as Barcelona won La Liga. Andrés Iniesta contribution to the team was praised by manager Frank Rijkaard as Barcelona won a league and Champions League double.

The 2006–07 La Liga season saw Iniesta's profile continue to rise and earned plaudits for Andrés Iniesta willingness to play in any position for Andrés Iniesta team. On 22 August 2006 Andres lifted the Joan Gamper Trophy as the captain of the team after defeating German side FC Bayern Munich 4–0. Andrés Iniesta played for the first time as a left wing-forward for Barcelona in two Champions League matches against PFC Levski Sofia, finding the net twice. In the first knock out stage of the same competition, Andrés Iniesta played at central midfield against Liverpool F.C.. Despite being moved around the pitch by manager Frank Rijkaard, the 2006–07 season remains Iniesta's highest scoring thus far.

With the departure of Ludovic Giuly over the summer break, Iniesta was able to switch Andrés Iniesta number 24 shirt for Andrés Iniesta preferred number 8. Iniesta responded the same day to deny the rumours, saying: "I’ve been told about that and I’m very surprised. I can’t do anything about it but I’d like to insist once again that I want to stay here. When I say I want to retire in Barça, I say it with all my heart. And my wishes are above everything else." On 25 January 2008, Iniesta extended Andrés Iniesta contract to 2014, with Andrés Iniesta buy-out clause being raised to €150 million.

According to the Spanish football magazine Don Balón, a member of European Sports Magazines, Iniesta has been one of the most consistent performers in the last two seasons of Primera Division, placing fifth in 2006–07, and fourth in La Liga 2007–08 on their annual rating system Ranking Don Balón. Andrés Iniesta also placed 9th in the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year voting, gaining 37 total points. Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi also featured in the top ten.


In September 2008, after the departure of former vice-captain Ronaldinho to A.C. Milan, the Barcelona squad decided on its new team captains. Iniesta was named fourth-choice behind, in order of preference, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Víctor Valdés; all four were products of the Barcelona youth system. In mid November 2008, Iniesta suffered a leg injury and was expected to return to action in six weeks. Iniesta, however, did not want to come back until Andrés Iniesta was 100 percent and finally returned to action on 3 January 2009 as a 65th minute substitute against RCD Mallorca. After only 10 minutes Andrés Iniesta scored a crucial goal and completed a Barcelona comeback in front of the Camp Nou. Andrés Iniesta performances in the La Liga 2008–09 season have been highly lauded, receiving standing ovations both in Barcelona at the Camp Nou, as well as from rival supporters in away matches.

On 5 February, Iniesta made Andrés Iniesta 250th appearance for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey match against Mallorca. Iniesta once again got injured in Barcelona's home match against Málaga CF, but returned to action for the first leg Champions League quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich, which Barcelona won 4–0.

Former teammate Samuel Eto'o described Iniesta as being "the best player in the world; whenever Iniesta is on the pitch, Andrés Iniesta creates a spectacle."

Iniesta scored a vital equaliser from outside the penalty area in the final minute of stoppage time during the second-leg of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea F.C., securing the tie on away goals as the match finished 1–1. In Andrés Iniesta diary of the season, Un Any Al Paradis, Andrés Iniesta wrote "I connected with that shot with the outside, not the inside or the tip of my boot, but right from my heart, with all my might."

This goal sent Barcelona through to the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final in Rome against defending champions Manchester United F.C.. Prior to the final, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson said: "I'm not obsessed with Messi, Iniesta is the danger. He's fantastic. Andrés Iniesta makes the team work. The way Andrés Iniesta finds passes, Andrés Iniesta movement and ability to create space is incredible. He's so important for Barcelona." in Andrés Iniesta analysis, David Pleat wrote, "In the end the midfield artistry of Iniesta and Xavi, helped by Messi, was the critical factor". After the game, Wayne Rooney described Iniesta as the best player in the world.

Don Balón rated Andrés Iniesta as the most consistent performer in the 2008–09 La Liga season, ahead of team-mates Xavi and Lionel Messi.


On 18 October, Iniesta was included in a list of 30 candidates for the prestigious Ballon d'Or 2009, given to the top player of the year in Europe, along with teammates Xavi, Thierry Henry, Yaya Touré, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Lionel Messi and ex-teammate and current F.C. Internazionale Milano striker Samuel Eto'o. Andrés was one of five nominations for the FIFA World Player of the Year award alongside teammates Lionel Messi, and Xavi Hernandez. Proud of the nomination, Andrés Iniesta commented that "the fans of the team who have always been there to support our team-mates also deserve to be recognised". The ceremony was held in Zürich and teammate Lionel Messi took home the award. Iniesta placed fifth with
134 votes. Andrés Iniesta scored Andrés Iniesta first goal for the season against Racing de Santander in a 4–0 win. Iniesta's 2009–10 season was largely disrupted by recurrent injuries. Andrés Iniesta missed pre-season fitness training due to the thigh tear suffered in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final and this meant that despite featuring in almost as many matches as the previous season, Andrés Iniesta did so mostly as a substitute, starting only 20 games throughout. Nevetheless, Barcelona once again won the La Liga title securing a record 99 points. Andrés Iniesta season came to an end after Andrés Iniesta aggravated a previous calf injury during training.

On 27 November 2009, Andrés Iniesta made a one-year extension to Andrés Iniesta Barcelona contract which now runs until 2015; Andrés Iniesta buy-out clause was raised again from €150 million to €200 million.


After being given extended rest by Spain national football team coach Vicente Del Bosque following the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Iniesta returned to Barcelona for a pre-season medical on 9 August 2010. Speaking to FC Barcelona's website, Andrés Iniesta said of the message dedicated to Dani Jarque revealed during Andrés Iniesta goal celebration in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final: "I did it because I felt it deeply. It showed that what is more important than rivalry, your team or your colours is to be human and a good person. I am delighted because it was the most important moment in my career." Asked about the recurrent injuries that plagued Andrés Iniesta 2009–10 season, Andrés Iniesta said: "It was hard, but I will start with more desire than ever." Andrés Iniesta received standing ovations from away fans at Estadio El Sardinero and the Vicente Calderón in appreciation of Andrés Iniesta World Cup-winning exploits whilst with the Spanish national team. Andrés Iniesta also had a standing ovation in the home pitch of R.C.D. Espanyol in El derbi barceloní, with the crowd acknowledging Andrés Iniesta friendship with Dani Jarque. Barcelona won the match 1-5.

Andrés Iniesta was one of the three finalists for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or, alongside Barcelona teammates Xavi and Messi, but came second as Messi won the award.

International career

Iniesta burst on to the international scene in 2001, helping Spain national football team win the UEFA European Under-16 Championship, and was in the squad that claimed the UEFA European Under-19 Championship the following year. Since then, Andrés Iniesta became a regular choice for the then youth coach Juan Santisteban. In 2003 Andrés Iniesta formed part of the Spanish side that reached the FIFA World Youth Championship final in the United Arab Emirates, and was named in the FIFA all-star team. During Andrés Iniesta spell with the Spain national under-21 football team side, Iniesta was named captain on several occasions.

Originally a fringe player, Andrés Iniesta was called up to represent Spain national football team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup on 15 May 2006, much to the surprise of many. Iniesta won Andrés Iniesta first cap (sport) for Spain national football team when Andrés Iniesta was brought on at half-time in a friendly against Russian national football team on 27 May 2006.

Andrés Iniesta scored Andrés Iniesta first goal for Spain in a friendly against England national football team on 7 February 2007. Andrés Iniesta long range effort, hitting the underside of the crossbar on the way in, gave Spain the lead on 63 minutes. Iniesta proceeded to play a pivotal part in Spain's qualification for Euro 2008 by scoring goals against the likes of Sweden and by assisting the strikers. Iniesta usually played in the middle of the pitch, but Andrés Iniesta was also trusted with roles further up the pitch when Spain was away from home, most notably in the game against Denmark where Andrés Iniesta was given an advanced left wing position.

Iniesta was selected in Spain's squad for UEFA Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. Though a stomach virus somewhat hampered Andrés Iniesta performances in the group stages, Andrés Iniesta still played an integral part in the midfield. Andrés Iniesta played in the first two of Spain's group stage matches and proved an important part of the team providing a particularly notable pass for David Villa's second goal against Russia. Andrés Iniesta was not rested, unlike most of Spain's regulars, for the final group game against Greece (which Spain won 2–1 thanks to a fantastic volley from Rubén de la Red and a late winner from Daniel Güiza), and returned for the quarter final as Spain beat Italy on Penalties. Iniesta was substituted before the penalty shoot out itself. In the semi-final against Russia Andrés Iniesta played the entire 90 minutes and produced a quality cross which Xavi converted to open the scoring. The Technical Study Group named Andrés Iniesta the Man of the Match.
Andrés Iniesta played the full duration of the UEFA Euro 2008 Final in Spain national football team 1–0 win over Germany national football team. Iniesta was named in the Team of the Tournament alongside fellow Spain midfielders Xavi and Marcos Senna and 6 other teammates.

Iniesta did not participate in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa due to a thigh muscle injury.

Andrés Iniesta was called for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and scored the second goal in a 2–1 win against Chile national football team. Andrés Iniesta was also named 2010 FIFA World Cup Group H Chile vs Spain. For Andrés Iniesta excellent performances in helping Spain reach the final of the tournament, Iniesta was shortlisted for the Golden Ball award. Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final against Netherlands national football team in the 116th minute, removing Andrés Iniesta jersey during Andrés Iniesta celebration to reveal an inscription on Andrés Iniesta undershirt reading "Dani Jarque: siempre con nosotros", which translates to "Dani Jarque: always with us," in tribute of former Spain youth teammate and RCD Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque, who passed away of a heart attack in August 2009. Andrés Iniesta won the Man of the Match Association football award for Andrés Iniesta performance which sent Spain to their first ever FIFA World Cup Results win.

Europa Press reported that Iniesta was the most popular Spanish sportsman on the internet throughout 2010. The study performed by company Vipnet360 examined the web presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Iniesta was followed by Iker Casillas, David Villa, Rafael Nadal, and Fernando Alonso rounding the top 5.

Style of play

Like fellow La Masia graduate Cesc Fàbregas, Iniesta originally started as a defensive midfielder but Andrés Iniesta balance, close control and skill on the ball saw Andrés Iniesta make progress as an attacking midfielder. Beyond Andrés Iniesta raw talent that was spotted at a young age by FC Barcelona's scouts, it was Andrés Iniesta great versatility, work ethic and inventiveness that allowed Andrés Iniesta to stake a claim on a first-team place at the age of 18. Vicente del Bosque described Andrés Iniesta as "the complete footballer. Andrés Iniesta can attack and defend, Andrés Iniesta creates and scores", and Frank Rijkaard said "I played Andrés Iniesta as a false winger, central midfielder, deep midfielder and just behind the striker and Andrés Iniesta was always excellent." Much like other Barcelona youth products such as Guardiola, Xavi and Iván de la Peña, Iniesta relies on exceptional creative passing, intuition and inventiveness to control the midfield and dictate the ebb and flow of play. Iniesta has been praised for Andrés Iniesta understanding and interplay with Xavi; former Barcelona teammate Giovanni van Bronckhorst saying "They have a special relationship, they always have, they just seem to know where the other one is". During Andrés Iniesta maturation as a player, Andrés Iniesta has gained a reputation for playing a part in important goals for club and country, specifically playing a leading role in both the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final and 2009 UEFA Champions League Final UEFA Champions League finals, as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final and 2008–09 UEFA Champions League and Euro 2008 semi-finals. and most recently Don (honorific) Andrés from the Spanish press.

Personal life

Since 2008, Iniesta has dated Anna Ortiz, and in September 2010 Andrés Iniesta confirmed that she was pregnant with Andrés Iniesta child.


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