Andrés Iniesta joined Barca as a twelve-year-old in 1996 after scouts had spotted him at the Brunette Tournament playing for Albacete.
From the start he progressed rapidly through the club's various youth teams and was promoted to the Barca B team for the 2000-01 season, where he almost immediately became the team's main playmaker under coach Josep Maria Gonzalvo.
Andrés' dream of making the first team finally came true in October 2002 when he was picked to play in the Champions League game against Bruges in Belgium. Van Gaal's Barca won that evening and Andrés made an excellent impression.
Now an recognised squad member, Iniesta has established a place for himself through hard work allied to his undoubted natural skills. In the shadow of some of the team's bigger names, Andres became a key piece of the League winning 2004-5 team, winding up as Rijkaard's most used player, figuring in 35 of the 38 league games. Iniesta also played 8 Champions League matches, scoring twice.
But he really established himself as a first team player in the 2005-06 season. Playing in
central midfield in place of Xavi, who was sidelined for a long time with injury, Iniesta became
one of the key players in the Barça side that won the League and the Champions League. He played in
33 League fixtures and 11 in the Champions League.
Iniesta continued to develop in the 2006-07 season and was one of the players most used by Frank Rijkaard in that campaign. He played in 37 out of 38 League games scoring 6 goals, his best return to date. In the 2007-08 season, and by now in the number 8 shirt, the midfielder continued to be an ever present in the side until the last few games when he picked up a knee injury.
In the 2008/09 season, Iniesta had an even better season than ever. Playing in a central or wide role he delighted the whole world with his amazing dribbling skills. He grew into one of the essential components of the Barça engine, and took the team to the Champions League final with an injury time goal at Stamford Bridge.
Plus Andrés Iniesta is one of the key players in the Spanish national side, playing in the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008, when he was one of the players most used by Luis Aragonés as Spain lifted the trophy.
Intuitive, vertical, fast and intelligent, Andrés Iniesta is a man of many virtues. The
midfielder started out in defence for Barça B and before that the club’s youth teams. But as
he gained in first team experience, he was also moved into a more attacking role. He is now a
full-on striker, and is also able to play as a midfielder or on either of the flanks of the Barça
Iniesta is not only versatile, but also a true professional, being talented yet modest. Especially talented. The player from Fuentealbilla has set standards for other attacking midfielders to follow. Practical and intelligent, he reads the game to perfection and is a constant threat to opposing defences.
The Barça number eight is getting better with every year. Always learning, his shooting has come on in leaps and bounds, and he can use either foot, as he showed us so dramatically with his last-gasp winner at Stamford Bridge.
2009/10 World Club Cup
2009/10 European Super Cup
2009/10 Spanish Super Cup
2008/09 Champions League
2008/09 Copa del Rey
2006/07 Spanish Super Cup
2005/06 Champions League
2005/06 Spanish Super Cup
Spanish national team
2008 European Championship