Mastery is described as complete control or superiority over someone or something. It’s fair to say it’s also a word befitting the talents of one Andrés Iniesta.
His grey and balding appearance belies the talent that he still possesses and whilst his physicality is undoubtedly waning, the ravages of time are yet to consume the football career of the distinguished Spaniard.
Instead, we see the Blaugrana legend continue to flourish; his game as refined as ever. His latest display of artistry against Deportivo Alavés enough for coach Ernesto Valverde to label his midfield virtuosity as masterful.
“The truth is that we have good players who play in the interior role, but Iniesta is a master at that,” said Valverde.
“I thought he could help us from there. It was important not to get too many of us in the Alavés box. It would have provoked counter-attacks.
“For that we needed players who move well in space like Leo and him. It was an extraordinary move and the goal let us breathe.”
Source | Goal
That one particular run that Valverde alluded to resulted in a goal for Luis Suárez and showed the kind of brilliance that’s epitomised the career of Iniesta. His level of play at 33 years of age is confounding.
Many have described Iniesta as skilful, agile and fast and all are apt descriptions but it’s the attributes that can’t be seen physically that have ensured such a long and prosperous career. His football mind is one that few can match.
Wisdom is said to come with age but age alone does not guarantee enlightenment. Iniesta has proven that his approach to the game is one without pretence. His humble nature has allowed him to gain an almost unmatchable wealth of knowledge and it’s this abundance of understanding that sees the master also become the mentor.
Iniesta has much to give the many young talents coming through the system at La Masia. His insights in the coming years will be invaluable to these younger players as well as ensuring that the more established names within the Blaugrana squad flourish.
In a time when we’re seeing the philosophy of nurturing the youth from within become less and less important for Barcelona, it’s clear that players such as Iniesta have an even larger role to play to make sure these young stars have the best chance to fulfil their potential.
There’s little doubt that the prospects of Football Club Barcelona still hinge on the little master’s quality of play on the pitch but his involvement in the future is just as important and with a little luck and hard work we just might see some of the club’s younger prospects follow the path that Iniesta has blazed at the Camp Nou.