We’ve came to realise in the last seven days of voting for the #TalkingXI that there is one player who has been mentioned, in some way or another, every single day. Although suggestions to include him in defence is downright silly, there has been a demand to get him selected at all costs and it’s quite understandable.
Versatility has been as much his middle name as creativity and success as he’s steadily gone about building a reputation, along with his experienced Catalan side-kick, as the best attacking midfield duo in football. Sitting midfield when Sergio Busquets is out, left midfield when David Villa and Alexis Sanchez are missing and to the left of a middle three, his best position, when Tito Vilanova feels like playing his strongest side, his ability knows no bounds.
Growing up at Barcelona, the 28 year old has spent 12 years staking a claim at a historic and highly competitive club in the North East of Spain. He might not score many goals (nine being his best total in both 2006/07 and 2010/11 emphasises that) but what he lacks in consistently finding the net, he more than makes up for in setting up goals for the team. In four of the last five seasons he’s got in to double figures for assists – aside from Cesc Fabregas he has been chief principle creator in a Barcelona side rich on invention.
And even if the one criticism of his game is goals, or lack of them, you can’t fault his tendency to strike in big games. Chelsea fans will remember his last-minute stunner in the semi-final of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge in 2009 which knocked the Londoners out of the cup. A final place looked to have slipped away from Barca, until the ingenious of their number 8 saved the game, and the competition they would go on to win.
Dutch football fans will recall his goal which cost them the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 116 minutes had passed with neither side able to show that final bit of quality to win the game, then the little playmaker took one touch and volleyed home the most memorable goal in Spanish football history.
Barcelona’s recent domination has been in no small part down to the awesome ability of Andres Iniesta. His place as left midfielder in the #TalkingXI may not be the ideal position, but with the wealth of midfield talent in the game, he simply had to be involved somewhere.
So there you have it, Andres Iniesta is your latest choice in the Talking Baws #TalkingXI!
Here’s some of the experts and voters telling you why:
“Very pale. Very brilliant.” – Tim Stannard, La Liga Loca. @LaLigaLoca
“Got to be Iniesta. Plays on the left of a three for Barcelona and with his ability he can play anywhere on the park.” – Grant Blue. @gblue85