Skip to main content

How Andres Iniesta won it all: every season so far in the career of the ex-Barcelona and Spain midfielder

Iniesta

These days, graduates of Barcelona's famed La Masia academy are getting harder to come by.

In the latest issue of FourFourTwo, Andy Mitten assesses just why the talent pool seems to have dried up.

Barcelona La Masia June 2020

(Image credit: Future)

But in the recent past, the school has been a production line for the game's best talent, delivering the backbone of La Liga, Champions League and World Cup-winning sides.

Foremost among them has been Andres Iniesta, scorer of Spain's winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

Today, 'the Artist' turns 36 – and here, we take a look back at the La Masia graduate's glittering career.

MORE ON ANDRES INIESTA

2002/03 – BARCELONA 

9 apps, 1 assist

Honours: None

"Luis Enrique, the captain, introduced me to the first team players. I'm not even sure he knew who I was." It's a big step up for academy prospect Iniesta, as he makes his debut for the first team. A disappointing one in all other regards, however, as the club finish sixth in La Liga, having changed coach twice during the campaign. A poor showing in Europe and the Copa Del Ray adds to the disappointment.

2003/04 – BARCELONA

14 apps, 2 goals, 3 assists

Honours: None

The arrival of Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard heralds a new era at the club, with the signing of Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho laying the groundwork for a new era of success. Barcelona finish second in La Liga, but Iniesta is still a long way from cementing a place in the first team.

2004/05 – BARCELONA

46 apps, 2 goals, 5 assists

Honours: La Liga

Iniesta's breakout year as the club storm to victory in La Liga thanks to plenty of Ronaldinho magic and a 25 goal haul from new signing Samuel Eto'o. Iniesta features in more league games than any other player, though the vast majority of his 37 appearances come as a substitute. A certain Lionel Messi also breaks into the first team.

2005/06 – BARCELONA 

49 apps, 1 goal, 6 assists

Honours: La Liga, Champions League

A long-term injury to fellow La Masia graduate and first teamer Xavi hands Iniesta a first sustained run of starts in the league, as Barcelona retain the title and win the Champions League for the first time since 1992. Initially left on the bench for the final against Arsenal, Iniesta replaces Edmilson at half time to help the team recover from a goal down to win 2-1.

2006/07 – BARCELONA

56 apps, 9 goals, 7 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana

Iniesta inherits the number eight shirt from Ludovic Guily, while his tactical flexibility sees him used in a variety of positions across midfield by manager Frank Rijkaard. This remains his most prolific season in front of goal. It's a poor year on the trophy front, though, with nada won beyond August's curtain raiser.

2007/08 – BARCELONA

49 apps, 4 goals, 7 assists

Honours: None

Despite rumours linking him with a move away from Camp Nou, Iniesta signs a new contract with his boyhood club containing a £125m release clause. It's a fallow year for trophies, however, as the Rijkaard era fades out in unremarkable fashion. Iniesta makes team of the tournament as Spain win EURO 2008.

2008/09 – BARCELONA

43 apps, 5 goals, 17 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, Copa Del Ray, La Liga, Champions League

"He changed everything. Even the goalkeeper became part of the attack." The promotion of Pep Guardiola to first team coach rings through monumental changes at the club. Highly-paid stars such as Ronaldinho and Deco are moved on and a host of academy prospects promoted to the first team. The gamble pays off, as Barcelona win an unprecedented six titles, with Iniesta the side's creator in chief.

2009/10 – BARCELONA

42 apps, 1 goal, 9 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, La Liga

A thigh-strain suffered in the previous Champions League final causes Iniesta to miss pre-season. Injuries and fitness issues plague him throughout the campaign, as Barcelona retain the title but fall short in Europe. He recovers in time to help Spain win the World Cup for the first time in the nation's history, scoring the only goal in the final. "It was ugly and there was a lack of respect. Fortunately we won in the end." – Iniesta on Spain's victory over the Netherlands in the final.

2010/11 – BARCELONA 

50 apps, 9 goals, 15 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana, La Liga, UEFA Champions League

Iniesta is at his dazzling best as Barcelona lift a league and Champions League double, defeating Manchester United 3-1 in the final at Wembley. He finishes runner-up in the 2010 Ballon d'Or behind Messi, with Xavi completing an all-Barcelona top three.

2011/12 – BARCELONA

46 apps, 8 goals, 12 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Copa Del Ray

No league title this time but another stellar campaign sees Barcelona win four trophies, despite finishing runners-up to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in La Liga. Pep Guardiola departs after three champagne-soaked campaigns. Spain secure consecutive European Championship titles, with Iniesta named man of the match in the final against Italy.

2012/13 – BARCELONA

48 apps, 6 goals, 22 assists

Honours: La Liga

Sixteen assists in 31 La Liga appearances helps Barcelona wrestle the league title back from Real Madrid under new boss Tito Vilanova. Iniesta finishes third in the Ballon d'Or vote, with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo first and second respectively.

2013/14 – BARCELONA

52 apps, 3 goals, 13 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana

Beyond signing a new contract, which will keep him at the club until 2018, it's a largely forgettable year for Barcelona and Iniesta. Despite the hotly-anticipated signing of Neymar, the club finish runners-up in the league and Copa Del Ray, after being dumped out in the last-eight in Europe. The calm before the storm...

2014/15 – BARCELONA

42 apps, 3 goals, 8 assists

Honours: Cope Del Ray, La Liga, Champions League

Iniesta is made vice-captain of Barcelona before an unforgettable campaign which sees the club secure a league, cup and Champions League treble under new coach Luis Enrique. Iniesta is named man of the match in the final of the latter, as Juventus are brushed aside 3-1 in Berlin.

2015/16 – BARCELONA

44 apps, 1 goal, 4 assists

Honours: UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, Copa Del Ray, La Liga

Following Xavi's departure, Iniesta is named club captain. It's a good year to take the armband, as Barcelona win four titles including the league and Spanish cup. But at the age of 32, the diminutive midfielder is beginning to show signs of slowing down ever so slightly.

2016/17 – BARCELONA

37 apps, 1 goal, 5 assists

Honours: Supercopa de Espana, Copa Del Ray, La Liga

Iniesta leads the team to a league and cup double, despite the break-up of 'MSN', with Neymar sold to PSG for a world record fee.

2017/18 - BARCELONA

44 apps, 2 goals, 5 assists

Honours: Copa Del Ray, La Liga

"The dream not only came true, it was better in real life." Iniesta signs a lifetime contract with Barcelona, effectively keeping him at the club for the remainder of his career. Despite this gesture, he soon announces he'll leave the club at the end of the season, after almost 700 matches played. Japanese side Vissel Kobe is his chosen destination. There's still time to lift one last league and cup double before he goes, though.

2018 – VISSEL KOBE 

14 apps, 3 goals, 6 assists

Honours: None

A three-year agreement is reached between Kobe and their new star signing, who joins Germany World Cup winner Lukas Podolski at the Japanese club. He arrives midway through the campaign, as the club finish in 10th position. "I am still motivated to play football. The stadiums here are impressive," he says of his career in Japan.

2019 – VISSEL KOBE

23 apps, 6 goals, 5 assists

Honours: Emperor's Cup

Iniesta is named captain of Kobe ahead of the new season. The club goes on to the 2019 Emperor's Cup at the end of his first full campaign.

While you're here, why not take advantage of our brilliant new subscribers' offer? Get 5 copies of the world's greatest football magazine for just £5 – the game's greatest stories and finest journalism direct to your door for less than the cost of a London pint. Cheers!

NOW READ...

INTERVIEW How do you deal with being the most sought-after teenager in the world? Erling Haaland scores goals

CORONAVIRUS What would each Premier League season since 2000 have looked like if it ended after 29 games?

QUIZ Can you name the top 50 clubs according to UEFA coefficient?

New features you'll love on FourFourTwo.com