Andres Iniesta is ready to play his 500th game for Barcelona in their Champions League quarter-final second leg at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
Iniesta, who joined Barcelona’s youth academy, La Masia, as a 12-year-old, made his first team debut in 2002 and has since won 21 major trophies with the Catalan giants.
The 29-year-old is ready to celebrate his ‘special’ game and hopes to crown this occasion by progressing to the Champions League semi-final.
“It is something very special, which makes me very happy,” Iniesta said.
“I want to say that the years pass and you keep competing and feeling good. This the hardest club to play for.”
Iniesta believes Barcelona need to play a ‘perfect game’ at Vicente Calderon to eliminate a very difficult opponent, whom they have not beaten this season.
“We need to play a perfect game to keep on the path to the semifinals,” he continued.
“We know we are up against a very difficult opponent, for what we have seen in all the games we have played against them.
"We must score no matter what, and be fully aware all the time. We are going there with confident of playing a great game, of being able to go through in the tie, and excited about returning to the semifinals. We know it will be difficult, but the team is able to do it.”
In light of the recent transfer ban by FIFA, Iniesta also defended the youth philosophy of his club.
"My personal experience leaves no place for doubts about what La Masia represents, or what it means to work here,” he added.
“Barca in this sense is an exemplary club.”
Will Barcelona crown Andres Iniesta’s landmark by reaching their seventh consecutive Champions League semi-final? Have your say in the comment section below.