Barcelona v Real Madrid: Iniesta's most memorable Clasicos
As Andres Iniesta prepares to play in his final Clasico, we look at five of his most memorable games against Real Madrid.
Andres Iniesta is set to play in his final Clasico on Sunday as his glittering Barcelona career nears its end.
With little other than pride riding on the biggest club game in world football, Iniesta will likely have even more licence to mark his last appearance in the fixture with a flourish.
Should he be unable to do so, the 33-year-old Spain great will still have plenty of fond memories of games against Madrid to look back on. Here we reflect on five of his best Clasicos.
Ronaldinho rips apart Real - November 19, 2005: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona
Introduced from the bench for Lionel Messi in November 2005, Iniesta was able bear witness to perhaps the defining performance of Ronaldinho's career as the Brazilian tore apart Madrid almost single-handedly. A smart turn and finish from Samuel Eto'o put Barca ahead after 14 minutes before Ronaldinho twice skipped past Sergio Ramos as a pair of stunning individual strikes earned him a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabeu crowd, a rare distinction Iniesta would eventually enjoy.
The joy of six for Barca - May 2, 2009: Real Madrid 2-6 Barcelona
Madrid had won 17 of 18 unbeaten match as they relentlessly pursued Pep Guardiola's Barca in the race for the title, but the Catalans emphatically ended their hopes of winning LaLiga with a brutal demolition job at the Bernabeu. Iniesta was to the fore, as he and Xavi ran rings round Fernando Gago in midfield. He dispossessed Lassana Diarra to set up Messi for the first of his two goals, while Thierry Henry also netted a brace and Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique were on target.
Barca master Mourinho's Madrid - November 29, 2010: Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid
The first of five meetings between Barca and Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in the 2010 season ended in a humiliating return to the Clasico for the former Camp Nou assistant. Iniesta got the ball rolling with an exquisite pass through to Xavi, who miscontrolled initially before lofting the ball over Iker Casillas, and he almost had the final say. Iniesta was narrowly beaten to Bojan Krkic's low cross by Jeffren, who capped off a rout in which Pedro also scored and David Villa starred with a brace.
Iniesta assist seals Champions League final place - May 3, 2011: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid
Iniesta was a late withdrawal for a highly tempestuous first leg of the Champions League semi-final clash, which was marked by a typically stunning Lionel Messi performance as Barca triumphed 2-0. He returned for the second leg, though, and it was his fine pass that set up Pedro to make it 3-0 on aggregate, with Madrid unable to find a way back despite Marcelo's equaliser. Barca went on to triumph in the Wembley final, beating Manchester United 3-1.
Hoy ha sido un día que estará marcado siempre en mi vida. Solo puedo dar las gracias a todos. Innumerables muestras de cariño y afecto que tendré siempre en mi corazón. A todos y cada uno de vosotros, GRACIAS. #siemprecule #micasa #quebonitoesestedeporte #agradecimientoeterno pic.twitter.com/oLsNUDCXxd— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) April 27, 2018
Benitez beaten and a Bernabeu ovation - November 21, 2015: Real Madrid 0-4 Barcelona
As with Ronaldinho, the Bernabeu crowd displayed their appreciation for a superb performance from a Barca player after Iniesta inspired the worst result in Rafael Benitez's short reign with Madrid. After Luis Suarez had opened the scoring, Iniesta slid in Neymar at the near post to make it 2-0, with the same pair combining again in a clever one-two that ended with the Spaniard rifling into the top-right corner from just inside the box. Suarez then netted a second before Iniesta was withdrawn to unexpected applause from the home fans.