Golden Foot Candidates: Andres Iniesta

Here’s a look at the list of the candidates who have been nominated for this year’s awards.

Andres Iniesta is the second Spaniard and third Primera Liga representative on this list.

The winner of the award has to be above the age of 28 and still playing. Awarded for a footballer’s outstanding sporting achievements, the winner gets to leave his footprints on the Champions Promenade overlooking the seafront at the Principality of Monaco. Just like the Hollywood walk of fame, only slightly less cool.

Spain v France - UEFA EURO 2012 Quarter Final

Full Name: Andres Iniesta Lujan

DOB: May 11, 1984

Teams: Albacete, Barcelona, Catalonia

Why has he been included on this list?

Iniesta is one of the best modern-day midfielders and like so few among the current generation of footballers, has spent his entire professional career at one club. His stint at Albacete took place when he was still a youth team player.

Having been at Barcelona since the age of 12, he is the perfect example when it comes to demonstrating that hard work, loyalty and patience can deliver results right at the top.

The Spaniard is also a model of consistency. Despite having a packed schedule for both club and country, he has rarely missed a game for either during his time as a professional footballer and seems to show no signs of breaking down.

With an impeccable pass completion rate, a versatility that is not seen very often but is always on the back of a coach’s mind and an excellent set piece ability coupled with the vision he possesses, Iniesta would be welcomed into any team with open arms.

What’s he won?

Iniesta has won everything a professional footballer could dream of, but his appetite to win is far from sated.

His first trophy with Barcelona was in 2005, when his team lifted the Primera Liga title. He followed that up with a second to his name the next year, during which he also helped Barcelona to the first of three Champions League titles during his stay at the club.

Since then, he has added four more league titles, two King’s Cups, five Spanish Super Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.

With his nation, he is among the vanguard of players to have ended the hoodoo regarding Spain’s reputation as perennial underachievers. He was part of the side that won the 2008 European Championships and successfully defended it in 2012.

He also became part of the side that won Spain’s first ever World Cup in 2010. He scored the winning goal against the Netherlands during the final in Johannesburg and dedicated it to his close and personal friend Daniel Jarque, the RCD Espanyol defender who died in 2009.

As a result, he was included in both Euro Teams of the Tournament and FIFA Team of the Tournament in 2010, during which he was Man of the Match in the game against Paraguay and the Netherlands in the final.

He was also named Best Player in Europe in 2012, to add to his very large collection of personal awards.

Spain's midfielder Andres Iniesta (C) ra

Best and worst moments

Iniesta will always be remembered for scoring the goal that won Spain their first World Cup three years ago.

But a moment that would be as embarrassing for him as that goal was euphoric, was the guard of honour he and his Barcelona teammates afforded Real Madrid in 2008 after Los Merengues captured the league title that year.

What’s he like off the pitch?

Iniesta has been known to honour those who have played a hand in his upbringing. In 2008, he spent 420,000 Euros to rescue former club Albacete when they were on the verge of bankruptcy.

In doing so, he became the club’s majority shareholder and his father Jose Antonio was appointed to the board of directors.

In 2013, when the club were unable to pay their players, Iniesta stepped in again and invested 240,000 Euros so they could do so.

The midfielder is married to Anna Ortiz. The couple have been dating since 2008 and had their first child in 2010 and got married a week after Iniesta and his teammates had defended their European title in Poland-Ukraine.

Can he win the Golden Foot?

Iniesta has both the credentials and the personality to win the award, but given that there are more experienced players on the list, he might not win it this time around.

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