LaLiga: 7 of the best moments from Andres Iniesta's incredible career to mark his 700th Barcelona game

Andrew Headspeath
90Min

The word legend is used an awful lot in football. However, there is little doubt that Andres Iniesta is a true footballing legend.

The Barcelona captain has won every major competition available to him at least once, including: 

eight La Liga titles,
four Champions Leagues,
four Copas del Rey,
two European Championships and scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup. 

The greatest midfielder of his generation has twice finished in the top three for the Ballon d'Or, won UEFA's Best Player in Europe award and (incredibly) has also featured in every FIFPro World XI since 2009.

Iniesta played his 700th game (including non-competitive fixtures) for Barcelona on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou in his side's clash with Sevilla.

Here's seven of his greatest moments in the famous blaugrana...


Competitive Debut (vs Bruges 2002)


 

El Caballero Pálido (the Pale Knight) made his competitive debut in October 2002 under Louis van Gaal, in a Champions League group stage match away to Bruges.

Juan Riquelme scored the only goal of the game, as the boy from Albacete got his career (a career that would soon turn heads all over the globe) off to a winning start.

 

Champions League Semi Final Winner (vs Chelsea 2009)

Chelsea v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final


 

Already an established star by 2009, Iniesta returned from an injury-plagued spell to score a vital equaliser in the very last seconds of stoppage time in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final to break Chelsea hearts.

Guus Hiddink's men had all but sealed a repeat of the 2008 Champions League final with Man Utd, after Michael Essien's thunderbolt looked to have sealed the tie. However, Iniesta kept Pep Guardiola and Barcelona in the hunt for a historic treble with a curling top corner strike from outside the area just as the fat lady was warming her vocal chords.

On the famous strike, Iniesta later said: "I connected with that shot with the outside, not the inside or the tip of my boot, but right from my heart, with all my might."

 

Champions League Final (2009)


Barcelona´s midfielder Andres Iniesta ho

 

Iniesta cemented his status as an all-time European great with his second Champions League victory in 2009.

After scoring the decider in the semi-final, Iniesta turned playmaker to set up Samuel Eto'o in the 2-0 win over Manchester United in Rome.

 

After the win, Wayne Rooney called Barça's creator in chief the best player in the world, while Sir Alex Ferguson was left questioning whether Iniesta and midfield partner Xavi had ever given the ball away in their lives.

"They get you on that carousel and they can leave you dizzy," Ferguson  said.


Post World Cup Form & 30 Yard Volley (2010) 


Racing Santander v Barcelona - La Liga

Iniesta became a national hero in the summer of 2010, after his injury-time winner over the Netherlands in the World Cup final, and became accustomed to routinely receiving standing ovations at every Spanish stadium he visited.

Still on a high from his international exploits, he bagged one of the more spectacular goals of his career on the opening league fixture of the 2010/2011 season as Barcelona saw off Racing Santander with a 30-yard lobbed volley.

While the goal didn't carry the same meaning as some of his other strikes, you are not likely to see a ball hit both as casually and as expertly again any time soon.

 

 

Standing Ovation at the Bernabeu (2015)


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Not many Barcelona players get a round of applause at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Just three in fact: Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho and Andres Iniesta.

In a Clásico in November 2015, Iniesta contributed a thumping strike into the top corner, an assist and generally ran the show in a dominant 4-0 display from the away side.


Despite being on the end of a hammering, the home fans were still moved to offer up the unprecedented honour of applause for a Catalan in honour of Iniesta's dazzling midfield orchestration.


Champions League Final (2015)


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Iniesta picked up his fourth Champions League crown in 2015, and was named man of the match for another imperious display, as Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1 in Berlin.

His early assist for Ivan Rakitic set his side on the path to victory and another treble.

Nobody has won the competition more times (since its nineties rebrand) than the Barcelona maestro.

400th La Liga Appearance (vs Leganes 2017)


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This week marks 32-year-old Iniesta's 700th appearance overall, but he already racked up another milestone this season with his 400th La Liga cap in the 2-1 win over Leganes.

Barça's captain has made 16 appearances in the league this season and has been a regular as his side have progressed through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

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