Andres Iniesta is number 32 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time Series
Put simply, Andres Iniesta was a genius.
The beating heart of arguably the greatest club side to have ever graced a football pitch, Iniesta must take his place amongst the world's best midfielders. Not just of his generation, but of all time.
If you want to see Iniesta at his peak, you would have to travel back to somewhere between 2008 and 2012. Alongside midfield partner Xavi, the Spaniard changed the fortunes of a nation, as well as orchestrating unrivalled success at Catalan giants Barcelona.
Iniesta's technical ability was unmatched, eyeing up passes that would seem physically and anatomically impossible to produce.
Not only was '
Before the final with Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson identified Iniesta as Barca's most integral component, stating: "He's fantastic. He makes the team work."
However, United wouldn't be able to stop Iniesta showcasing his quality, playing through injury to provide a sumptuous assist in Barca's 2-0 triumph.
OTD in 2009...— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 6, 2018
Andrés Iniesta scored one of the classic Champions League goals
He broke Chelsea hearts in the process pic.twitter.com/n33FCAnYTH
Persistent injury and personal bereavements didn't stop Iniesta from winning La Liga once again, with Barcelona securing a then-record 99 points.
Spain were looking to assert their international dominance on the major stage once more, aiming to be crowned World Cup champions for the first time in their history. Despite a rocky start to the tournament - losing the opener 1-0 to Switzerland - La Roja passed their way in to a blockbuster final with the Netherlands.
The stage was set, and Iniesta didn't disappoint.
The final itself was a fiesty affair -
Iniesta was named man of the match, and had earned the respect and love of all those in his homeland - even Real Madrid supporters (briefly).
His god-like status among those in Catalonia continued to grow, with the Spaniard's conquering of world football - under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola - knowing no bounds.
In 2011, Iniesta won his third Champions League trophy, with Barcelona toppling Manchester United, again, in the final. While Iniesta didn't get his name on the scoresheet, the magician still ran proceedings, and was widely considered the game's best performer - even if the glamorous Lionel Messi earned the official man of the match award.
Euro 2012 would soon take centre stage, with the eyes of world football focused with unwavering precision on Spain. Could La Roja win a third successive major tournament? Yes, yes they could.
Despite a fairly routine journey to the trophy - including an emphatic 4-0 final victory over Italy - Iniesta still showed his class on the world stage, yet again confirming that he truly was the planet's greatest midfielder.
The Spaniard was voted as the best player of the tournament, and his blend of power and poise was deserving of Europe's elite prize.
Who would have thought that when little Andres Iniesta came through La Masia, that he would go on to make 674 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 57 goals and registering 140 assists?
Probably not many, but that he did, winning 35 trophies in total with grace and unrivalled beauty.
90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here.
Number 50: Luka Modric
Number 49: John Charles
Number 48: Hugo Sanchez
Number 47: Jairzinho
Number 46: Omar Sivori
Number 45: Paolo Rossi
Number 44: Paul Breitner
Number 43: George Weah
Number 42: Kaka
Number 41: Lev Yashin
Number 40: Gunnar Nordahl
Number 39: Kevin Keegan
Number 38: Hristo Stoichkov
Number 37: Gianluigi Buffon
Number 36: Johan Neeskens
Number 35: Xavi Hernandez
Number 34: Luis Suarez
Number 33: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge