Andres Iniesta: The Story of the Beginning of a Legend

More than 20 years ago history was written in PortAventura World, an amusement park, where a Barcelona scout talked with Iniesta’s family, which later turned into a successful signing and in the process made an all-time great midfielder.

Football News: A trip to the famous amusement proved to be the catalyst for the signing, said scout Joan Martinez Vilaseca

The 33-year-old is set to put an end to his Barca career on Friday, having joined the Catalans in 1996 as a 12-year-old boy. He was noticed by scout Joan Martinez Vilaseca and was convinced to swap first club Albacete for the Blaugrana.

"We discovered him during Brunete tournament, Albert Benaiges was our Youth Team coach and he alerted us about Iniesta, we began to work and we came to see him," the scout explained to Goal.

"He had amazing technical skills, he was very fast making decisions and had incredible vision; he had everything we look for in young midfielders.

"It wasn't easy to bring him to Barcelona but as fate would have it, Barca met Albacete in the youth Copa del Rey and we went to meet his family again. His father told us he was still very young and I understood, but I told him that being such a good player soon or later new offers would arrive and I told him to remember that we would always be interested in him."

Soon the scout took advantage of Iniesta’s family outing to one of Spain's most popular amusement parks and sealed the deal.

"We were the first club to show interest in him and we invited Andres and his family to see La Masia if they ever came to Barcelona," the scout recalls.

"After a few weeks his father called me and told us they were on a trip to Port Aventura theme park so we invited them to see La Masia.

"At that time, young Real Madrid starlets were living in rented flats, not in a residence; in the past, we were able to beat Real Madrid to young [Ivan] de la Pena for the same reason."

"We had lunch at La Masia and they loved it, we were the only Academy with a residence; Iniesta's father called us again a few days after that meeting and they told us they had accepted our offer."

After 18 years and 700 games at the senior level, Iniesta has won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues. Vilaseca admitted that it would hard to see Iniesta go, and he is happy as the player is signing off at the height of his powers.

"Iniesta is a very complete player, he can be fantastic in the middle or as a winger, a very complex role today, and that is something that only a few players in the world can do at this level," he explained.

"He hasn't said his last words in Spain yet, even if we all suspect he is leaving soon because these kind of important players are not used to playing in secondary roles.

"It is going to be sad but he will leave at his very best."

 

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