Barcelona is one of the biggest football teams in the world with a roster that would start on almost any other team. The success rate of the club of bringing youth players into the first team is one of the best in Europe with the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Busquets.
But all good things come to an end in football, with age correlated with productivity usually being the main motivation; Andres Iniesta is a legend in Catalonia, but the declining use of the Spanish talisman spells out the end of an era.
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In football, ageing is frowned upon despite its inevitability. So, with Andres Iniesta at 32 years of age the signs of slowing and feeling his age are evident with the number of injuries he’s accrued as of late. For the 2016/17, Iniesta has already missed 18 matches due to injury with 81 days out in total. He has just managed 30 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions with just 19 starts – a stark difference from years past when the maestro was pulling the strings and leading Barcelona to glory.
Barcelona is a city of artists, and Andres Iniesta is one of its best 🎨 pic.twitter.com/ryqGAQw9zi
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 6, 2017
The decrease in playing time is not the only thing missing from Iniesta. This season he has scored a single goal and has one assist in all competitions for Barcelona making it difficult to imagine that he will be at the Camp Nou for much longer.
Barcelona has struggled this season at times when they’ve needed that big game spark that the midfielder provides for the side. Andres Iniesta is class, no doubt, but at Barcelona production is key or else you find yourself in a bit role that would be insulting to the La Masia graduate. There is something for Iniesta to give to the world of football even if it isn’t in a Barcelona jersey.
Andres Iniesta is Culé through and through, but the club is phasing him out with recent midfield transfers with the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Andre Gomes, Rafinha and Denis Suarez taking minutes from Iniesta. Almost any other top club in Europe would love to add the midfielder to their side and would use him on a more regular basis.
The legend is still silky smooth with the ball at his feet and can continue to make things happen for the club in the more limited role, but the world deserves to see the Barcelona man feature more often.
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In certain matches, the Iniesta of yesteryear appears with his touch of a god, playing with a childlike ease. Those moments must be appreciated as his time in a Barcelona jersey in waning as the younger core of players are looking to push him out of the side.
Youth is no longer on the side of the man that led the Spanish football revolution.
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