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Andres Iniesta turns 37 years old today and - while he's still doing bits for Vissel Kobe in Japan - the Spanish magician's whole career shows he is the total package as a playmaker.
The Barcelona legend could do everything and, as this spine-tingling compilation shows, no other attacking midfielder could compare. It's just amazing to watch.
When Iniesta's midfield partner Xavi was first breaking into the Barca first team, Pep Guardiola pointed to a 15-year-old Iniesta and said to Xavi: "You will retire me, but this kid will retire us both."
Proof that even back then Guardiola had an eye for talent, as Iniesta would go onto fulfil every expectation.
An immaculate first touch, superb vision, the ability to find space and an astonishing passing range are just part of Iniesta's arsenal of gifts. During his 674-game spell at Barcelona, he also proved himself the most consistent dribbler at the club - aside from Lionel Messi - and he could bamboozle defenders with his skills.
However he wasn't just a luxury attacking player. In keeping with all the Barca players who thrived under Guardiola's management when he took control of the club in 2009, La Masia graduate Iniesta would work hard, press and run opponents into the ground when they had the ball.
Andres Iniesta is the only player to have been named Man of the Match in:- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 11, 2021
Euros final :trophy:
World Cup final :trophy:
Champions League final :trophy:
The midfield maestro turns 37 today! pic.twitter.com/QZQ0HYAR79
Iniesta is also a goalscorer and - more importantly - a match-winner. His 91 career goals, so far, for club and country include some hugely important ones, as Iniesta showed his ability to live up to the big occasion.
He scored the most important goal in Spain's history when he netted to beat Holland in the 2010 World Cup final. A year earlier, his injury-time screamer at Stamford Bridge knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League and put Barcelona in the final.
:soccer: #ChelseaBarça is coming ...
Do you remember where you were and how you celebrated when this goal was scored?
- FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) February 18, 2018
Xavi was the pass-master who ran Barcelona's midfield in the 2000s and early 2010s, while Messi was the genius No 10 and the club's best player.
But Iniesta can boast of being something between Xavi and Messi. He could be the midfield orchestrator when Barcelona needed him to be; setting up the attacking talent in front of him. Or he could switch to running at defenders and causing havoc himself.
The complete attacking midfield talent - and still producing age 37. Happy birthday, Andres.
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