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Friday, July 20, 2018

This Day, That Year: Andres Iniesta makes Barcelona first team debut

Andres Iniesta, who joined Barcelona's first-team as an 18-year old on October 29, 2002, completes 15 years with the club today.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: October 29, 2017 4:55:14 pm
Andres Iniesta, Andres Iniesta Barcelona, Barcelona Andres Iniesta, La Liga, Andres Iniesta La Liga, La Liga Barcelona, sports news, sports, football news, Football, Indian Express Andres Iniesta joined Barcelona 15 years back. (Source: AP)

Andres Iniesta on Sunday completed 15 years with Spanish club Barcelona. Iniesta joined Barca as an 18-year old on October 29, 2002. Back then, it was Louis van Gaal’s side, who turned to the club’s youth talent to fill out for his side in Champions League final group match.

Although the team had already qualified for the next stage, the young Iniesta ended his first match with a 1-0 win. The Fuentealbilla born Iniesta, who debuted with No. 34, showed no nerves on the first big match of his career, to the highest pleasure of Van Gaal.

He returned to the main side of Barca two months later on a day when there was a lot of speculation over Van Gaal’s job. Few days later, Iniesta played his first game at Camp Nou, again a victory.

It has been 15 memorable years for Barca and football fans around the world, watching Iniesta become one of the greatest midfielders ever. The Barca captain has won eight La Liga, five Copa del Rey and four Champions League trophy with the Catalonian club so far.

The 33-year old has made 636 appearances for Barcelona, scored 55 goals, made 136 assists and won the club 30 trophies. Since 2015 Iniesta has been the team’s first captain, and is one of the Club’s most distinguished symbols.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Club in September 1996, at the age of 12. Iniesta and Leo Messi share the record for the most titles in Barça history, with 30.

He recently signed a lifetime contract with Barca and said on the occassion, “This is a very special day for me because I’m staying at home. I want to continue doing important things here.”

“I’ll be here until my body, my mind and all I must give says that’s enough. I hope that won’t be for a very long time. I can only thank the club and the fans for everything they do for me every day.

“This agreement is a renewal but also a show of trust. It makes me very happy that my club has given me this chance.”

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