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Showing posts with label Unsung Heroes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unsung Heroes. Show all posts

Sep 23, 2008

IniestaFC Barcelona sadly has been always about the players like Ronaldinho, Messi, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Figo etc. Many a times we tend to overlook the contribution of many of our heroes. Andres Iniesta was in place to make that list of unsung heroes. This liliputian from Fuentealbilla has been Barcelona's best player of last season. He is inline to become the best player of this year also. But we will take his contribution for granted. As soon as Messi hits back his great stride we will forget this little man's contribution, surprisingly he will not complain about that. Usually there are two types of footballers - one with tremendous skills who tend to drift away now and then, and the other with moderate skills who tend to give their 100% percent everytime on the pitch. Iniesta belongs to the third group which does both to perfection.

Iniesta was off colour when FC Barcelona lost their seasons opener to Numancia; or may be we can say that Barca lost that match because their Mr.Reliable was having a bad day. Guardiola expressed his concerns over Iniesta's performance in that match and dropped him for the next match against Racing. But when he replaced Hleb in that match he showed what FC Barcelona was lacking till then. He undoubtedly has been the man of the match in FC Barcelona's last three matches. Even when the front trio has failed repeatedly it is Iniesta's partnership with Xavi which was pivotal in last two decent performnace by Barca.

Eventhough Louis Van Gaal was the one to handle Iniesta his debut; his success at the top level has to be accredited to the belief Rijkaard had in him. To an extent we can say that Iniesta was the most over abused player of the Rijkaard era. Rijkaard used him in all position - front left, front right, midfield, holding midfielder and even left back. His humility has earned him the title "El Anti-Galactico" by the Catalan press. Last match against Sporting Gijon is the prime example of the commitment he shows; he was slotted to play the attacking left front role but many a times we saw him track back and help Abidal in the defense. Because of this natureIniesta is simply the least substituted player in the Barcelona side.

Iniesta along with Xavi has become the core of Spain's National side. When he first made his debut there was reports suggesting that he is pretty unlucky to fight for a place in that already crowded midfield. Nobody gave him a chance of starting for Spain in the Euro. Such was his performance in the Euro qualifying matches that he pretty soon became the second most trusted midfielder for Luis Aragones; first being his campatriot Xavi Hernandez. He displaced Cesc Fabregas from the starting eleven. That didn't go that well with the English Press; there were suggestion put to change thes system so that the three Catalan midfielder can play together. He didn't start the Euro campaign that well; he was solid but wasn't magnificient. But with every match he improved and was at his best in the last three matches.

It's time the FC Barcelona fans stood up and appreciate this "Silent Hero". The more he plays the more he improves; two seasons before everyone complained about his ability to score goals. Now he is regularly getting into that scoresheet. His natural flair would be the driving force for FC Barcelona and Spain in the present and the future. With Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta Lujan forms the most dangerous partnership in today's midfield.

Jan 9, 2008

Many consider him as the sole survivor of the dreaded Galacticos era. But the way he plays, he resembles more of Hierro rather than Zidane's and Figo's - Gritty, Hardworking, Sensible and Extremely Talented. It should come as no surprise that he shares birthday with another gifted Goalkeepr - Peter Cech. Madrid's victory against Zaragoza laid rest (temporarily) my hopes of Barcelona cutting down the Madrid lead to five points or better three points. I downloaded the goals from the match and didn't care much about the rest of the match. Accidently I got a chance to see the highlights of the match yesterday.

Boy O Boy, if it was not for this gifted player Barcelona would have cut down the lead to three points. The final 2-0 result does no justice for the way Zaragoza played. The irony was Zaragoza played with Madrdid's attacking style in Madrid. If it was not for the talented Iker the score line would have been some thing like 2-4 or maybe worse 2-8. Iker Casillas was stringing up saves one after other and when he was beaten (the only time), the post came for his rescue.

Madrid has been saved numerous time by the numero uno of Spain. For this precise reason I don't see Madrid winning the Champions League this season. With such a fragile defensive line, they may not match up to the powers of Milan or Arsenal. Niether do Barcelona. If it was not for him, Barcelona would have escaped with a draw at Nou Camp. And he may be big factor which will keep Barcelona's hope of regaining the Championship at bay

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