Lionel Messi may steal the headlines but Andres Iniesta may be more important to the Barca team.
It is more-or-less unanimously believed in the world of football that Messi is the greatest player on the planet and some say, even of all time. Four consecutive Ballon D’Or trophies pay homage to this sentiment, but many in the game believe he is not the most important player at the Nou Camp.
In terms of team contribution, it could be argued that Iniesta is most vital asset to the Catalan’s style of play. Of course Messi reaps the rewards with a bagful of goals, but would he get so many in a side minus the Spaniard?
After Manchester United lost comprehensively to Barcelona in the 2009 Champion’s League Final, United’s scorer on the night, Wayne Rooney, spoke of his admiration of Iniesta.
“Forget Messi, Iniesta is the best player in the world,” he told Sky Sports.
It is not only Rooney that is a fan of Iniesta. Former Arsenal and France midfielder Robert Pires, last week was also speaking to Sky Sports about why Iniesta is better than Messi.
“For me Iniesta is the best player at Barca. We always talk about Messi, but without Iniesta, Barcelona are a different team. He is the master of the team,” Pires told reporters.
One negative that is often attributed to Messi is that he is not as good for his country as he is for his club. This same criticism could not be said of Iniesta, as the midfielder was instrumental in Spain’s successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012 and scored the only goal against the Netherlands, in the 2010 World Cup final.
Most would probably argue that the Argentinian has more individual talent, but as a team player, it is still undecided if he is as influential as Iniesta.