We all know that time passes without us noticing. That is, after all, the only way in which we can justify the fact that Andrés Iniesta, the eternal baby-faced Ilusionista has turned 32.
It feels like it was yesterday when a fresh-faced midfielder from Fuentealbilla came onto the Stade de France pitch to change Barcelona’s fate in the 2006 UEFA Champions League final and guide the Blaugranas to victory with a brilliant display from midfield. If one fast forwards to the present and looks up Andrés Iniesta he will most likely stumble upon a stunningly packed trophy collection that belongs to the otherwise shy Castilla-La Mancha native. In fact, it is a trophy cabinet that most footballers can only dream of, given that it includes 4 Champions League winner’s medals, 7 La Liga winner’s medals, 2 European Championships and 1 World Cup, on top of a host of individual prizes like the UEFA Best Player of the Year.
Should Barcelona win the double this season, Iniesta and his Barça teammate Dani Alves will move into the top three of players with most titles. Their 31 titles would place them on par with former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville, but still Andrés Iniesta will not get too excited. The world of football has seen lots of noble figures, but nobody really gets close to Don Andrés. The mode of address we are using here, reserved in Spain only for the very important people of the higher classes, is still too meagre to describe what a wonderful character Andrés Iniesta is.
It is indeed rare to see such characters in the current footballing universe, which is unfortunately dominated by corruption and an outrageous love for money, gambling or the latest online casino offering no deposit bonuses at www.nodepositcodec.com. One would not be too far off the truth if he were to say that Andrés Iniesta never even considered these things. In Andrés Iniesta, FC Barcelona have the ideal role model, the person who defines the club’s celebrated ‘Més que un club’ motto to tantalising perfection. He may be quiet and subdued off the pitch, but on it he has the ability to paint a smile on a culé’s face every day of the week. Andresito is inventive, charismatic, has the silkiest touch you’ll ever going to see in a footballer and has envious sense of calm about his game. When he has the ball, an observer may be easily fooled into thinking that the great Barça pass master is gliding on the pitch.
With Andrés Iniesta now 32, the logic of football dictates that Barcelona must start thinking about life without the Pale Knight. Last summer, the club started its first season in over a decade without its other great puppet master, Xavi Hernández. The time when we will need to say goodbye to Andrés Iniesta is not light years away, so all we can do is sit back and enjoy him while he is still here.
All we can say for today is, happy birthday, Andrés!