Luis Enrique Says Andres Iniesta's Replacement Could Already Be At Barcelona
It will take some doing for Barcelona to replace Andres Iniesta when the Spaniard hangs up his boots.
The Barca captain has been an integral part of every bit of success the club have achieved over the years and even at 32, he shows no signs of slowing down.
But inevitably, there will be a time where he does call it a day in football and much like with his regular midfield partner Xavi, Barca will need to replace the sort of player who doesn't come along too often.
However, boss Luis Enrique says that Iniesta's replacement may already be in the ranks, in the form of midfielder Denis Suarez.
Since leaving Manchester City in 2013 after failing to break into the first-team, Suarez's career has been on an upward spiral.
He signed for Barca and figured for the B team in 2013-14 before impressing on loan at Sevilla and then on a permanent basis with Villarreal, where his displays caught the eye of Barca chiefs to the point that they activated their buy-back clause and brought him back Catalonia.
Now in the first-team fold, the 23-year old has come on leaps and bounds and has scored three times in his last two games for the team.
Commenting on his rise and comparing him to Iniesta, Enrique said:
"He could be [Iniesta's replacement], why not? Players have to evolve. He has to improve, but Iniesta is Harry Potter, he makes magic, and it's difficult to find another. But Denis is on the right path and I hope he can be.
"The goals will boost his morale. He's been coming into the area at the right time, but he needs a little more efficiency, but he's shown that today with his finishes.
"Denis is one of the few players to leave Barca B and be able to return. That's because of taking care of the ball but also working hard off the ball, which some players forget about.
"You have the ball for a minute or a minute and a half in the game, so if you don't do well without it, you have no chance at this level. Denis understands that and he's well loved by his teammates."
Suarez has certainly got a long way to go before reaching Iniesta's level, Enrique is well aware of that, but his form is certainly encouraging given that he's still only relatively young.