FC Barcelona talisman Andres Iniesta feels he still has a role to play at the club despite not being an automatic starter last term, while insisting that he is comfortable with the system of treble winning manager Luis Enrique.
The 31-year-old started a relatively low 19 league games for The Blaugrana last term, having seen a dip in form last season, but the World Cup winner insists that he has no problem’s in adapting to Luis Enrique’s style of play. The Spaniards long term future at the club has also been questioned, but Iniesta is optimistic about the coming season, after having completed the Treble last term.
I am hoping for an even better season on both levels in 2015-16 – Iniesta
Iniesta has now been named the captain of FC Barcelona, ahead of arguably the world’s best player Lionel Messi, who is the vice-captain, and Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique. Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Iniesta said:
“It is not true that I am suffering in Luis Enrique’s style of play.
“In the end, you always have to find your place and feel well in a certain formation and I am able to continue doing just that. Is is true that perhaps some things have changed for me, but that is not a negative thing in my opinion.
“I have gone through all kinds of moments last season, with different emotions, I don’t think it was a bad season for me on a personal level. I am more than happy both on an individual and collective level for what we achieved. .
“I am hoping for an even better season on both levels in 2015-16.”
The loss of veterans Carles Puyol, Xavi and Victor Valdes, to retirements and transfer, has seen Iniesta become one of the most experienced players in the current side, and the 31-year-old is ready to take on the extra responsibility of being the new captain of the club.
“I think it’s nice that I am one of the older players. It means that I have been around for a while and I am still here. That has always been the objective. I am really happy.
“It is very special to represent the team as the first captain. It is very nice. It is amazing to become the captain for a player who has been at Barcelona for so long.
“I don’t think there is just one way of being a good captain. I have been fortunate to have played alongside captains such as Puyol and Xavi. A captain thinks about the group before his individual interests. Being a captain is about so much more than just football.”
What does the future hold for Iniesta?
After enduring a dip in form and goal-scoring over the last two season’s, the midfielder who scored the solitary goal in the World Cup final against Netherlands in 2010, would likely be looking to play in a less advanced role, as he has been used to. The mid-fielder has been used in a number of positions over the last two season, but would like to orchestrate things from the middle of the park, similar to how his old-teammate Xavi used to do. He has the passing range and the vision, to be an excellent deep-lying play-maker for FC Barcelona, a-la-Xavi.
Midfielders in their 30’s are known to re-invent their games to considerably reduce their physical input and increase their longevity, while also using their experience of reading the game better than their team-mates, from a deeper role. Iniesta could be tempted to adopt a similar strategy, to increase his longevity, while also being central to FC Barcelona’s plans.