Next up are the "other two" centre-midfielders from each side. Andres Iniesta from the Guardiola era with San Andres earlier Rijkaard incarnation.
As these two are one and the same, I cannot compare attributes, so will instead compare their respective performances under each manager. With that being said, Iniesta has always been a big-game player. However, it is only under Guardiola that he has developed into a big-game scorer!
Not to mention, Andres Iniesta has scored the most important goal in Spanish football history, the world cup-clinching goal against Holland. However, because I am not Spanish, I prefer the goal he scored against the team I despise the most, Chelsea FC.
I suspect it’s still vivid in everyone’s minds but I feel like describing it again.
Over two legs the Blaugrana seemed to be the stronger side; Barca however didn’t manage to score a goal. Michael Essien’s wonder strike put the Blues one up on aggregate and the Blaugrana were bound to exit the Champions League. Just as Barcelona looked down and out…Barca’s no. 8 scores one of the most important goals in FC Barcelona’s history.
Maybe it isn’t the same in text, so here's the video in 5 different languages:
Iniesta's Goal against Chelsea in five languages (via PiotrosCompilations)
But back to the matter at hand; (San) Andres Iniesta has been on a different level this campaign and, at times, completely unplayable. He has found his scoring boots from the Chelsea game, and already has seven goals to his name. With three more months of regular club football, I expect El Illusionista to shatter his previous benchmark of nine goals.
It cannot be a coincidence that FC Barcelona’s fantastic form coincides with San Andres being fit as opposed to the prolonged stretch he was absent in the last campaign.
Andres Iniesta was a good (utility) player under Rijkaard, but he was not as effective nor as efficient as he is now. The player nickname "El Illusionista" has truly matured under Guardiola, and is rightfully cited as one of the top 5 players in the world right now.
And I’m not one to disagree with him, so sorry Rijkaard, but present day Iniesta wins here.
Winner: Present day Iniesta