Andres Iniesta, born in Spain on May 11, 1984, is a soccer player that plays in FC Barcelona and Spain national team as a midfielder, and he has earned several major titles like the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro, UEFA Champions League, etc.
In May 2018, it was announced that he would be transferring from FC Barcelona to the J. League team Vissel Kobe for good.
When he was 8 years old, he joined his local soccer club, which was a suborganization of Albacete Balompie. He caught a lot of attention when he entered the national tournament at the age of 12, after which he joined FC Barcelona.
He became captain of Barcelona’s youth academy, where he distinguished himself with excellent body balance, and his ability to control and accurately distribute the ball. Pep Guardiola, who at the time was captain of the top team highly praised him, saying: “He is the best player I have ever seen”.
In the 2002-2003 season, he was invited to the top team by manager Louis van Gaal and made his debut. In the following year, in the 2003-2004 season, as the replacement for Ronaldinho, he appeared in 11 matches, and in the match against Valencia CF, he scored his first goal.
In December 2015, because Xavi injured a ligament and had to withdraw from matches for a long period, Iniesta took his place and secured a regular spot on the team. Under the management Frank Rijkaard, Iniesta contributed to winning both the La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles.
In 2008, after Guardiola became manager, with Messi, Xavi and Iniesta as the team’s central players, he helped the team win 3 cups within one year. After that, he led the team to 3 consecutive championships in the Liga Espanola, and brought about Barcelona’s golden age.
Even after Guardiola left the team, Barcelona continued dominate, and up until the 2017-2018 season, Iniesta gathered titles left and right – La Liga 9 times, The Copa del Rey 7 times, UEFA Champions League 4 times.
On February 19, 2017, in the match against CD Leganes, he became the second player after Xavi to reach a total of 400 match appearances. On October 5, for the first time in Barcelona’s and clubs’ history, a lifetime contract was signed with Iniesta, but as we enter 2018, there were news everywhere about him leaving the team.
In May 2018, his transfer to the J. League team Vissel Kobe was publicly announced, and he would start playing under the No. 8 jersey.
Iniesta was chosen for the Spain national team ever since his youth days, where he won the title in the UEFA U-16 and in the U-19 European Championship. He made his debut in the top national team, in the friendly match against the Russia national team on May 27, 2006.
In the UEFA Europa 2008, together with Xavi, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva, his team overwhelmed the opposing countries in the midfielders, and in the final against Germany, they won 1-0. He led the Spain national team to title after a 44 year pause.
Similarly to FC Barcelona, Iniesta also brought about the golden age in the Spain national team, as he rose to the top in both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2012, and achieved the unprecedented feat of winning 3 major tournaments one after another.
Also, in the World Cup final against Netherlands, he scored the winning goal in the second half of overtime, during the 11 minute mark. For his efforts, he was selected for the Man of the Match. On top of that, he was also selected for the tournament MVP in the Euro 2012, which firmly secured his position as the world’s best midfielder.
Regardless of all his efforts and achievements for his club and the national team, because Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were also active at the same time, Iniesta never won the MVP of the year award, the Ballon d’Or.
When he left from Europe’s top team to join Vissel Kobe, France Football published an editorial and apologized to him, as well as expressed their hope that Iniesta would in the Ballon d’Or award for his efforts in the 2018 Russia World Cup.