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SL Ballon D’Or Top 10 – Nr 7: Andres Iniesta

The Spain and FC Barcelona midfielder, Andres Iniesta, was voted world’s number 7 by the Soccer-Laduma journalists.

The 29-year-old is considered to be one of the greatest midfielders of all time, as well as one of the best footballers of his generation.

He originally started as a defensive midfielder but his balance, ball control and agility allied with his skill on the ball saw him make progress as an attacking midfielder. He is renown for his great versatility, passing, dribbling and inventiveness to control the midfield and dictate the flow of play.

Iniesta first arrived at Barcelona in September 1996, when he was only 12. He came through Blaugrana’s famous youth academy, La Masia, and made his first-team debut in 2002, aged 18.

By the 2005-06 season, Iniesta was a key member of Barca’s staring XI and has made 470 official appearances for the club since his debut. He has been praised for his understanding and interplay with teammate Xavi and scored 46 goals as well as 107 assists for the Catalan giants.

Amongst many accolades, he has won 16 major trophies with Barcelona including six La Liga titles and three times the UEFA Champions League. He was part of the historic 2009 Barcelona team which won six trophies in one calendar year under Pep Guardiola.

On international level, Iniesta is an integral part of Spain’s recent national team, which won the European Championship in 2008, the World Cup in 2010 and defended the EURO in 2012.

The highlight of his successful career came in 2010, when he scored the deciding goal in the World Cup final against Netherlands to claim Spain’s first World Cup trophy. He was named Man of the Match and also made the All-Star Team of the tournament.  Two years later, he was named best player of EURO 2012.

He won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award in 2012, and was runner-up to Messi for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or, and achieved third place in 2012.

Given the massive amount of trophies he has been collecting so far, one might think that the year 2013 has been a quiet one for Iniesta. He “only” won the La Liga title and the Spanish Supercopa.

But he is still one of the most continuously capped players for club and country and again showed his brilliance at the 2013 Confederations Cup, where he received the Silver Ball for the second-best player of the tournament.

Under new coach, Gerardo Martino, Iniesta is again a permanent member of Barca’s starting XI and has an impressive pass accuracy of over 91 percent of his 1272 passes.

Spain’s national team coach describes Iniesta as “the complete footballer. He can attack and defend, he creates and scores.”

There is nothing more to say, besides Andres Iniesta deserves to be one of three Barcelona players in Soccer-Laduma’s world’stop 10.

By David Kappel

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