The Magic of Andres Iniesta

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

49 Comments

  1. Blow-Granite
    February 8, 2010

    That is a timeless classic, low centre of gravity, change of direction, and a classic example of shielding the ball by doing a pull back – all executed perfectly.

  2. poipoi
    February 8, 2010

    that “taconcito”, that thing is not hard to do at all, it’s an absolute classic move. andres has many better and more idyosincratic moves I think, I love when he controls balls coming down with snow.

    • February 8, 2010

      Well, I think this is actually an extraordinarily difficult move. Despite it looking easy, it’s anything but when you’re surrounded by defenders who are trying to get the ball off of you. Iniesta and Xavi understand space like no one ever I’ve ever seen before and this is just an example of how brilliant that makes them.

      Simple-looking, difficult in reality. Certainly Iniesta does other things that are even more difficult, but he did this in the last match and it’s worth noting because it took my breath away.

      • poipoi
        February 8, 2010

        you’re right about the little guys space skill but that move it’s like: you go one way, fake, taconcito, and then the other way, but he just nails it, as xavi completely nails the 360 πŸ˜‰

      • Eklavya
        February 8, 2010

        I don’t think it’s hard to do it really but it’s the sort of thing that if you in fail in you get thrashed at. It doesn’t work as good that often (unlike here).

        You know, this reminded me of Bojan’s rabona he did in his debut season:

        *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvnNd3-v7aM

      • cliveee
        February 8, 2010

        both xavi and iniesta know how to shake off ball chasers very well. they tend to do some slow-fast turn or direction switch very often. it makes it so hard to predict. like this turn here, the back heel was applied in a speed much much faster than the other 2 dribbles. man, he had so many good moves last few games. check out this dude’s channel for more iniesta + more compilation:

        //http://www.youtube.com/user/sjurinho

    • ElShowDeJason
      February 8, 2010

      it’s one of those easy-to-do, hard-to-pull-off kinda tricks.

      very easy techincally to do it, but doing it at the right time, in the right situation, while under pressure, is where it gets tricky.

      Same as Zidane’s Roulette. very simple technique wise, but very few can do it effectively in a game.

  3. poipoi
    February 8, 2010

    offtopic: who do will you guys support in the World Cup? xaviniesta need even more recognition

    • February 8, 2010

      USA!

      And any team from Africa that isn’t Algeria unless they can knock out England.

      • Eklavya
        February 8, 2010

        Is USA even qualified? πŸ™‚
        *gets ready to be smacked down*

        • Helge
          February 8, 2010

          You dare to question Isaiah’s football knowledge? πŸ˜€

          *watching Eklavya being smacked down*

          • yogi
            February 8, 2010

            For me, I always support Argentina. Hence am not looking forward to miserable summer with maradumber still in charge.

            Spain and Dutch are my second favorites though. Hope they go all the way if argies do not make it.

    • vicsoc8
      February 8, 2010

      USA.

      Then Spain/Holland/Ivory Coast.

    • Phil
      February 8, 2010

      Speaking of, you guys catch the Merseyside Derby? Donovan was about one of the few bright points in the Everton attack and he had some good defense too. He’s been looking really good.

      Jozy Altidore scored for Hull as well. Good day for Americans in the EPL. (Lets just ignore Tim Howard’s terrible defense and positioning on the game winning goal for Everton.)

      At this point I guess it goes without saying but, USA! πŸ˜€

    • Blow-Granite
      February 9, 2010

      I dont care which team they play, I support XAVIniesta

    • andrew M
      February 9, 2010

      BAFANA BAFANA !!!!! (SOUTH AFRICA)

  4. Eklavya
    February 8, 2010

    Offtopic:

    I definitely think Ronney has surpassed Torres.

    • Helge
      February 8, 2010

      Let’s take a look at the stats (from all club competitions in this season):

      Wayne Rooney: 23 goals and 5 assists in 2635min (one goal each 114min34s)
      Fernando Torres: 12 goals and 2 assists in 1619min (one goal each 134min55s)
      Didier Drogba: 22 goals and 8 assists in 2169min (one goal each 98min35s)
      Lionel Messi: 23 goals and 8 assists in 2449min (one goal each 106min29s)

      So, from a statistic point of view, he definitely has surpassed Torres. But the big surprise for me is that Drogba has actually more assists and needs less time per goal than Rooney. Media (and also myself) is going crazy about Rooney this season, whereas there’s not much praise for Drogba. He’s been a killer against Arsenal, but his skill and sheer power seems to disappear once he plays for the Ivory Coast…
      That’s possibly the big advantage from Rooney and Torres, they also show up for their respective national teams. Messi and Drogba don’t, but that’s also because of their national coaches.

      Other players who can keep up with them (statistically):
      Jermaine Defoe: 20 goals and 3 assists in 2209min (one goal each 110min27s)
      David Villa: 18 goals and 2 assists in 2090min (one goal each 116min7s)
      Luis Suarez: 34 goals and 17 assists in 2754min (one goal each 81min0s)

      Impressive Suarez, but one probably has to multiply his current ratio by ~2 to adopt it to the EPL/la Liga.

      • Eklavya
        February 8, 2010

        Nice stats! Torres hasn’t impressed me much after his 1st season at L’pool. I didn’t know Drogba has so many goals too. Media freaking out on Rooney has overshadowed him.

        You do know how much did Messi have at this point last season?

        • Helge
          February 8, 2010

          Well, that’d be a lot of work as I’d have to look up each match on its own until 1st week of February, 2009.

          But for the complete last season, Messi’s record was:
          38 goals and 17 assists in 3900min (one goal each 102min38s)

          So, goals per minute has barely changed, if he keeps his current ratio and plays the same minutes as last season, he would end up with 37 goals. His number of assists would fall down to 13,though.
          Plus, I guess it’s not likely that Messi will reach as many minutes as last season. So it’ll be tough for him to keep up with last season. But for me, he still is the best – besides Xavi πŸ™‚

        • Helge
          February 8, 2010

          Oh, on a side-note, Messi is way ahead of Crynaldo’s goals per minute ratio (based on all club matches played in their career). πŸ˜€

          Messi: 102 goals 12812min (125min36s per goal)
          Crynaldo: 124 goals in 20900min (168min32s per goal)

          Crynaldo at the age of Leo Messi (2 years, 4month and 19 days difference) –> equals approximately Crynaldo until the 06/07 season (to be exact, one would have to count the first 2 months of the 07/08 season, that is the first 9 playdays of the EPL):
          44 goals in 11203min (one goal each 254min36s)
          [I’ve only counted his matches with ManUtd, he’s been for 2 years at Sporting Lisbon, making 25 appearances and 3 goals, so that’s negligible – would make his ratio even worse, anyway^^].
          Now, to be fair, the 07/08 was his break-out season, so I wanna add the goals until Oct. ’07 (that’s not too much work^^):
          6 games, 3 goals in EPL; 2 games, 1 goal in UCL;
          –> one goal each 248min28s

          It was a lot of work, but seeing the result, I gotta say: It was worth it πŸ™‚

          Final stat: Crynaldo has been sent off 6 times in his club career, Messi none.

          • Eklavya
            February 8, 2010

            Woooooow, thanks for doing all the hard labour work πŸ™‚

          • Alexinho
            February 8, 2010

            Thanks Helge interesting stuff-

    • segun
      February 8, 2010

      d guy is great. ow i wish dat is my brother

  5. Kxevin
    February 8, 2010

    A few other sources were noting this move, as well. 101 Great Goals also posted a link to it, with the same awestruck reverence. I mentioned it in the match review, as well. If he gets it wrong, they’re in on Valdes like death. It isn’t just the move, it’s the moment and the man.

    • BL
      February 8, 2010

      i know you guys know this, but i haven’t seen it mentioned yet..

      this is nearly the identical move that he pulled on gago and co in the 2-6 πŸ™‚

      • Alexinho
        February 8, 2010

        I noticed that! But it was one of those things that you forget to mention or think it’s too little to mention…so cool though. Same reaction from the victims, too.

  6. vicsoc8
    February 8, 2010

    The audacity of the move is what gets me. “Ohh I’m in danger with two men on me at the top of my own box I’ll just… completely smoke the shit out of both of them with a perfect move and go the other way.” Awesome.

    I also want to say that Busquets has the same audacity that we see here. Look at the moves he has attempted this season and you’ll see that same confidence. Unfortunately they don’t all come off because he isn’t yet as good as Iniesta. Also, as a DM he should be more careful with the ball.

    However, we praise Iniesta for doing this on our 18, when Busquets can successfully make moves like this from his DM position we will be praising him as well.

    • Kirsten-SA
      February 8, 2010

      That was a nice but risky move by Iniesta right there.Had he lost the ball at that moment, Pep would have subbed him right away. And you right Busquet does a lot of those in our own half.remember the spin-move he pulled against EE and almost lost the ball? everytime he got the ball in that match i was thinking “oh boy,what’s he gonna try next?”. Thing is for his position he shouldnt be trying those and i think he has improved so much in that.

  7. Phil
    February 8, 2010

    Miku pulls up after thinking “Yeah I’m not even going to try to follow that.” Awesome.

  8. Achraf
    February 8, 2010

    I LOVE how iniest plays it cool. After the trick head up just lookin for the pass. Like ” Oh that! It was nth lets just get on with the game. πŸ˜€

  9. inNYC
    February 8, 2010

    Iniesta crack!!! I think there is a certain chemical receptor in the brain that is permanently altered after watching him play. It may cause permanent neurological damage but I don’t care.

    That music went great with the car alarm going off outside my window.

  10. Hector
    February 8, 2010

    Just an amazing moment. Add me to the list of open mouthed atonishment.

    However πŸ˜€ ….

    Johan being Johan actually criticized Iniesta for doing just this today. His words translated (*http://www.elperiodico.com/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=685354&idseccio_PK=1011) :

    “…Even then, there was a play that made my hairs stand up. An action that should serve as a lesson to its protagonist and his teammates. The play, technically perfect, aesthetically marvelous, by Iniesta which eliminated two rival players in front of his own area as if it was nothing was in fact as exciting as it was irresponsible. It would have been perfect if it had taken place in front of the opposing area but too risky if its in front of your own. If you are the last man, as Iniesta was, either give the ball to the keeper or kick it to the stands without hesitation. Choose A or B but not C. Its beautiful if you pull it off but its also an almost sure goal conceded if you don’t.”

    Ahh… Good ol’ Johan with the buzz kill. He’s right too, you know? 100% right.

    However, the Johan should know that that’s just the way Don Andres rolls. Straight up 100% gangsta. He does not care for little things such as prudence or pragmatism πŸ˜€ .

    • Kxevin
      February 8, 2010

      Of course he’s right. And everybody knows it. But why spray paint the Mona Lisa? Audace! Toujours l’audace!

    • February 8, 2010

      Well said, coming from the pragmatic responsible Cruyff who used to do only whats needed, the simpliest way possible

      *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJHN1mN5SCg

      • Eklavya
        February 8, 2010

        I still don’t understand how that’s allowed, otherwise everybody would be doing that…

        • jordi
          February 8, 2010

          Cuz its risky, thats why everyone isnt doing it

          *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spuvWxlnya0&feature=related

          *http://www.fifa.com/flash/lotg/football/en/Laws14_02.htm

          The player taking the penalty kicks the ball forward.

          He does not play the ball a second time until it has touched another player.

          The ball is in play when it is kicked and moves forward.

          So techinically its within the rules, as johan kicked it forward, and didnt touch it again till it touched another player.

  11. Bill
    February 8, 2010

    When the other team decides to attack our defensive possession like a pack of wolves to catch us with our pants down, there is NO ONE I prefer to have the ball on his feet. He is very nonchallant with 3 guys around him, sometimes making you nervous but the ice-cold methodical way he goes about breaking down opponents is just special. After a couple of times, you realize…this isn’t luck, this boy can straight up ball.

  12. Bill
    February 8, 2010

    Helge, there is a misperception about Messi’s performances with Argentina. He was the break-out star in the argentine under 17 world cup, single handedly dragging that team to the finals. He was the star in last years olympic win, giving breathtaking performances on his way to winning, and he was the star in argentina’s win in the south american cup(I forgot what its called) 2 years ago. ARgentina’s poor play of late CANNOT be blamed on him. The team is just poorly organized and confused, hard for a player like him to make an impact.

    Torres on the otherhand, besides the final against Germany in euro 2008, gets severely outplayed by Villa all the time.

    • Kari
      February 8, 2010

      Messi played in the U20 WC,though at that time, it was called the World Youth Championship. The distinction is necessary because anyone from 15 (like Kun Aguero) to 23 could play in that tournament. So basically Messi was owning people up to 4yrs older than him.

      The South American cup is called the Copa America.

    • Helge
      February 9, 2010

      I know that Messi kicked ass for Argenina in the past. One could even claim that Messi performed well until Maradona was appointed…
      But Pekerman wasn’t a lot cleverer than Maradona when he took out Riquelme against Germany and gave Messi only a few minutes of playing time during the whole WC 06. I’m still convinced that, had Messi played more minutes and Riquelme not been substituted, Argentina would have won the title πŸ™

  13. anon
    February 8, 2010

    *http://www.totalbarca.com/2010/news/fabregas-to-reject-new-arsenal-contract/

    • Kxevin
      February 8, 2010

      Had it in comments two threads ago. We don’t sleep over here, yo! πŸ˜€

  14. drew
    February 8, 2010

    iniesta along with xavi dont get the credit they deserve. many of us already view iniesta as if not the best, one of the best footballers in the world.
    if iniesta ever managed to score around 10+ goals a season, he would easily be viewed by everyone as the best in the world

    • BL
      February 8, 2010

      nah, messi would still take it. just look at what messi does, iniesta is amazing – no argument – but leo? the kid takes on 4 defenders for breakfast, turns around and takes em on again then scores a bajillion goals while doing it.

      no one does what messi does.

      i know that iniesta isn’t an attacker and that messi isn’t a midfielder, but if you switch their roles and put iniesta at LW and messi in CM, what would happen?

      messi would still be running rings around dudes and passing through legs and generally owning. iniesta would be doing great but missing the net and running into walls and lofting passes into the 18 that get cut off by defenders.

      point is, iniesta is probably the most skilled midfielder in the world and leo is the best player on the planet. no amount of goals by iniesta is going to change that.

  15. barca96
    February 9, 2010

    johan is right but ibra chose the safe option which was, pass it back where it is crowded. as you all know, it resulted in pique getting a red card. so i prefer going the iniesta’s “cooler than cool” method.

  16. Eklavya
    February 9, 2010

    Iniesta did this trick against EE in el clasico last season too:

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp6AfbOHM-c

    At 5:26~

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