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Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta is an immensely talented attacking midfielder who plays for FC Barcelona. With good skills on the ball, great passing and movement, good vision, rounded off with a sound footballing braing, Iniesta is one of the most exciting footballing talents to have emerged from Spain in recent years.

He is generally deployed by Frank Rijkaard in a central midfield role, although he has also played on the right hand side of midfield on occasion.

Club History

At the age of 12, Iniesta was spotted by Barça scouts at his local club Albacete Balompié. He was switftly signed and worked his way up the club ranks. Louis van Gaal handed him his debut on 29 October 2002, a UEFA Champions League game against Club Brugge KV. Appeared eleven times in the league in 2003/04, mostly as a deputy for Camp Nou favourite Ronaldinho, as Barça sealed second place, scoring once.

2004/05: Iniesta successfully nailed down a permanent slot in the first team and figured in 35 of 38 league games - more than any other player. He displayed an unselfish attitude by regularly aiding strikers Samuel Eto'o and Ronaldinho but was unfortunate in front of goal - denied by the woodwork on several occasions, he found the net just twice.

2005: Iniesta's improvement as a player has continued and because of the absence of Xavi due to injury, he has been given more regular starts in midfield. His contribution to the team has been praised by Coach Frank Rijkaard and he has already notched up an impressive tally of 1 goal and 5 assists this season.

National Team

Iniesta burst on to the international scene in 2001, helping Spain win the UEFA European Under-16 Championship, and was in the squad that claimed the UEFA European Under-19 Championship the following year. In 2003 he 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. He also went on to captain the Spanish U21 side.

In late 2005 Iniesta was invited to take part in a meeting of shortlisted players for the Spanish national squad leading to speculation that he may have a role to play in the Spanish national team at the World Cup of 2006.

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