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Infinite Iniesta: 675 games, 57 goals, 142 assists, 32 major trophies

Zeeshan Ali
SENIOR ANALYST
Editor's Pick
28 May 2018, 01:37 IST

Iniesta walks
Iniesta walks off, one last time.

Staring into the night sky lit up with the glow of fireworks and alive with the sound of music, he catches the camera focus on him. Looks straight at it... Winks, smiles, looks away and a firm grimace grips his face. And a tear rolls down his cheek. Mine too.

That's it. No more Andres Iniesta, week in, week out. No more bringing the ball under his spell. No more gliding past defences. No more picking the eye of the needle. No more awe-inspiring magnificence.

It felt like the man who has lifted humanity's collective spirit on so many occasions now needed someone to hold him up. Me too.


The last of the best?

A dis
A distraught Andres Iniesta

The sheer divinity of the man, the gall to still want more from himself. No, expect it. The self-belief that rivals that of an all-conquering drug king-pin and the calm demeanour that befits a sage, few in world football operate at the levels of the maestro who is worshipped in Catalonia and lauded around the globe.

And that is inherently what is wrong with this world. This man ought to be worshipped by the entirety of the human race. Postered, plastered all over our cities. Re-name our streets after him.

The Andres Iniesta street - where trespassers are prosecuted. Severely.

But sadly, we've seen the last of the most mesmerising footballer of our generation in that fabled blue and red for Barcelona. The Camp Nou has witnessed some of the finest talents in the world, right through their history. The absolute legends of the game that have lit up the historic stadium, night after night, generation after generation.

Names like Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronald Koeman, Pep Guardiola, Johan Cruyff, Xavi Hernandez, Ronaldinho, Messi!

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But then... Andres Iniesta. The greatest among them all? I for one have no qualms saying that. Or swearing by it.

Bar
Barcelona put on a show for one of their very own

In terms of sheer joy that a footballer can provide, every time you watch him manipulate the ball on the pitch, few come close to the magic that this man can conjure up. Out of thin air. No one knows if we'll ever see another like him, but everyone certainly doubts it.

What is still stranger is that the unflappability of the man's consistency is at par with his irrefutable talents on the ball. HOW CAN THAT BE!

The man who saw gaps when none existed has now left a gaping hole with his departure right in the heart of Catalonia. A third consecutive Champions League title for their bitterest rivals will do little to ease the burden of the loss that Barcelona is currently experiencing.

Over the unfolding history of mankind, we have, time and again, been reminded of our fallible tendencies as humans. Our limitations as humans. The short-comings. Pit-falls.

Yet this man has simply danced his way around these challenges in life almost as easily as he has danced his way around men from all over the globe trying to get the ball off of him.

One of the limitations as humans I alluded to is our failure to learn from our experiences. And how many men do you think have experienced taking the ball off of Iniesta? See, we never learn.


The sun rises in the East and sets in Catalonia

Andres Iniesta Meets Vissel Kobe Supporters
Andres Iniesta has joined Vissel Kobe in Japan.

Now that Iniesta has made his way across to where the sun rises, all the way in the east we have little doubt that the Spaniard will fit in wonderfully in a country that is associated with the same level of Zen that Andres Iniesta possesses. Attention to detail.

We might not get to see much of the man any longer, with the World Cup set to be his last crack at a major tournament, and having to figure out a way to cope with that knowledge is a difficult process. Almost as difficult as it is going to be imagining the Catalonia side without the utter genius of the maestro.

The loss we feel today is profound and it is sincere. It legitimately sucks that we will no longer behold the all-consuming beauty of Andres Iniesta on the ball. We will miss you, legend. Thanks for the memories.

Andres I
Andres Iniesta after his final game for Barcelona

The last images of the Spanish giant that will reverberate in our minds for as long as we live will be of him sitting right in the centre of the pitch at Camp Nou. His pitch. Now, no more. This is where he rose to the stature of a legend that will live on probably even after the remnants of the stadium are long gone. Where he eviscerated the opposition with the grace of a figure skater. With the number 8 on his back. The same number that the trails of those defenders trying to stop him form. Are they still trying?

There. Right in the centre of the pitch he sat, perched on the ground... Doesn't need a throne. Or a crown. It's his kingdom and everyone knows it. What we're wondering is if he ever wears his cape...

Go on. Try and take it away from him.

675 games

57 goals

142 assists

32 major league titles

#InfinitIniesta

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