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Andrés Iniesta

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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Iniesta and the second or maternal family name is Luján.

Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta]; born 11 May 1984 in Fuentealbilla, Albacete, Castile-La Mancha) is a Spanish football midfielder who currently plays for Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona. His willingness to play anywhere on the pitch, coupled with a natural humility, has earned him the sobriquet El Ilusionista (The Illusionist), El Cerebro (The Brain), El Caballero Pálido (The Pale Knight)[1] and most recently Don Andrés from the Spanish press.[2] After the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney stated that he believed the midfielder to be the best player in the world.[3] His current contract with Barcelona runs until 2015. Iniesta scored the winning goal for Spain in the 116th minute of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final against the Netherlands and was the Man of the Match for the game.


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City ready for €100m Iniesta raid

Manchester City are lining up their most audacious bid yet - this time for Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta.

The cash-rich Premier League club is ready for another major shopping spree during the January transfer window.

While there is no questioning their ambition, City's latest transfer target will certainly raise plenty of eyebrows.

According to reports in Spain, the Eastland club are ready to make one of the most ambitious bid in recent times - this time with a massive €100 million offer for Iniesta.

A representative of City was quoted as saying by Spanish sports daily Marca: "Iniesta has had a great year and has come through the Barcelona youth system, but this does not mean that the Catalan club do not consider a good offer."

The 26-year-old, who has turned into one of the best midfielders in the world since rising through the Barcelona youth ranks, is known to be fiercely loyal to the Catalan club.

Hardly involved in any transfer speculation in his career, Iniesta's allegiance to the Spanish giants has discouraged clubs from even contemplating a bid for him.

Not Manchester City.

The Citizens' emergence as the world's richest club has seen them signed top players nearly at will, with both clubs and players unable to resist their astronomical offer and salary packages.

Despite boasting of players like David Silva, Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure in their ranks, City are not contented as they look to further boost their squad for the assault on the Premier League title.

The imminent departure of want-away captain Carlos Tevez have also given manager Roberto Mancini another reason to splurge.

It remains to be seen if City can complete one of the most ambitious transfer coups in recent times by bringing Iniesta to Eastlands.

But they usually get their man.

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Iniesta: Barca must not slack off

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is adamant that they must not ease off in terms of effort in their title assault.

The Spanish league holders will usher into 2011 with their clash against strugglers Levante and Iniesta has demanded that his colleagues epitomize the collective spirit and work ethic which served them well in 2010.

"We are really motivated to begin the year well, but there is a hard 2011 ahead of us," the Spain international is quoted as saying by Barca's official website.

"We can't guarantee titles or even that we will repeat the successes of 2010, but I can assure you that we will be doing our very best to get to the end of this season with our chances still intact to win everything .I am certain that the team won't let anybody down."

"(We hope for) the best possible 2011. I hope the good things continue, I enjoy new sensations and I stay fit enough to train and play well. The last 12 months have been a time to get back to normal after my injuries.

"We have to continue where we left off before the break. We put in some great games, including the win over Madrid which everyone will remember us for."

Iniesta also purred at the January arrival of Dutch playmaker Ibrahim Afellay from PSV Eindhoven.

He commented: "He'll be an important player for us, he's got a lot of talent, quality and he's got a lot going for him. We'll try and help him settle in as quickly as possible."

With the World-Cup winner on the shortlist to win the highly acclaimed FIFA Ballon d'Or along with team-mates Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta admitted his pride at seeing the Nou Camp side being recognized for their exploits.

He added: "Being in the final three is a great thing and sharing that with Leo and Xavi makes it even better for us and for the Club as a whole.

"If I win - well it's something I would never have imagined, getting to the final is fantastic, but I can't imagine what it would be like to win!"

Barca will take on Levante on Sunday as they begin their domestic action after their winter-break.

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