INIESTA LASTS JUST 30 MINUTES

Barcelona’s midfield talisman Andres Iniesta has picked up another injury to his left leg in the recent El Classico encounter in the Copa Del Rey.

Iniesta, who has injured his left leg twice prior to this latest blow, lasted only 30 minutes before being substituted against Real Madrid.

The injury was picked up in a relatively tame clash with Alvaro Arbeloa and along with three prior injuries this season, two of which were also to his left thigh will raise doubts over the Spaniard’s long term fitness.

The previous injuries have been relatively short absences for Iniesta, missing two weeks in November with a similar injury. He was sent for further tests to his injured leg and the results have not yet been made public. But the suggestions are that he could have torn his hamstring which would make for a few weeks absence in his recovery.

INIESTA RULED OUT

After the injury setback in the case of striker David Villa, Barcelona have also been dealt with a major blow with the news that Andres Iniesta will be out for up to 2 weeks with an injury sustained in during a recent match with Hospitalet.

The Champions thrashed the lower division side 9-0 in the Copa del Rey match on Thursday, but that was insignificant for Guardiola and Barcelona given that Andres Iniesta will be out for a significant amount of time. Barcelona are already suffering from a number of injury problems this season and the injury to the Spanish midfielder only adds to their woes.

Andres Iniesta was crucial in helping Barcelona get off to a great start in the match, but some had to be stretchered off after suffering a horrible collision with goalkeeper Carlos Craviotto. The team may have won by one of the greatest ever scores, but Guardiola said after the match that he was more concerned about the injury to Andres Iniesta.

INIESTA SET TO RETURN

Barcelona have been boosted with the news that Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas have both resumed training. Barcelona have had a tough few weeks of late, and one of the main reasons for it has been the injury to Andres Iniesta.

The return of the star midfielder has been seen as the crucial factor, as the El Clasico nears us - Barcelona will be playing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in a few weeks time. In the meantime, the injury to key players has allowed Real Madrid to stretch the lead to 6 points. Hence, a mere draw will not be sufficient for Barcelona in their efforts to retain the title for the fourth consecutive time.

INIESTA BACKS GUARDIOLA

Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta has come out supporting the work Pep Guardiola has done at Barcelona over the past few years, and spoken of his extreme respect for the achievements of Guardiola during these years.

After taking over in 2008, Guardiola has transformed the Barcelona team into one of the world's greatest. There have even been plenty of discussions about whether the current Barcelona team is the greatest in the history of football. Even though the team has to go a long way into proving such claims, Iniesta already regards Guardiola as one of the most important parts of Barcelona's history.

Guardiola's contract with Barcelona runs out at the end of next season, and there has been speculation that he will choose to run down his contract rather than renew it, as he has grown tired of the Barca management job. It is also rumoured that he has lost the spark that needs to be present in order to keep on winning. He has been linked with moves to Inter Milan and Chelsea in the past.

However, Iniesta believes that Guardiola's achievements should not only be respected by him, but also by his club as well. Iniesta said "We will always say the same thing and that is that we are very happy with Pep Guardiola. He is fundamental for Barcelona's project."

So far, Pep Guardiola has won two Champions League titles and a hat-trick of La Liga titles with Barcelona.

There have been recent reports of a bust up between Lionel Messi and David Villa, which sparked rumours that Guardiola has lost the dressing room, but a slight improvement in form has allayed such fears.

INIESTA BACKS FABREGAS

Andreas Iniesta has backed Cesc Fabregas to become a major success at Barcelona. Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas both are graduates of Barcelona’s famed youth academy, La Masia, and have been playing together in Spain’s national team. Both of these players were involved in the crucial goal scored in the extra time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final against Netherland, which proved enough for the Spanish team to become the world champions. Fabregas came off the bench to assist Iniesta for the only goal of the match, which was scored in the first half of the extra time against the Oranje at South Africa last summer.

Cesc Fabregas has been heavily linked with a move to back to his boyhood club, Barcelona, for the past three seasons. The Gunners’ skipper has also publicly spoken of his desire to join the Spanish Giants and a move looked imminent last year when Barca made two official transfer offers to Arsenal. However, Arsene Wenger, who signed Fabregas when he was 16, rejected both offers and persuaded the Spanish midfield prodigy to stay at the Emirates Stadium.

The 24-year-old is now once again being linked with Barcelona and it has been reported that Cesc Fabregas has agreed personal terms with the Spanish giants. Moreover, it has also been reported that the European Champions have offered 30 million Pounds plus want-away striker, Bojan Krkic, and highly rated midfielder, Thiago Alcantara, to Arsenal for Cesc Fabregas.

INIESTA HAPPY WITH HIMSELF

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that the comeback victory against Almeria was extremely impressive along with the way that he played in the match.

"We had to react very quickly as it started to become very difficult, and we kept pushing until we got the reward,'' he told reporters after the game.

"We kept on trying all the way to the end and we finally obtained the three points. It became very difficult after Corona scored but we eventually got the job done.''

MOYES COMPARES ARTETA TO INIESTA

Everton manager David Moyes has said that Mikel Arteta is the exact replica of Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta. Although Arteta has not had the best of seasons he put in a good performance against Sunderland on Saturday which saw them win 2-0.

Moyes had to fight off interest for his Spanish midfielder and he will hope that his faith is repaid and that the midfielder gets back to his best in the second half of the season.

INIESTA SPEAKS ABOUT ARSENAL MATCH

Andres Iniesta has said that Champions League with Arsenal will be tough. Andres Iniesta Catalans travel to Emirates Stadium for the first leg of their last-16 tie as strong favourites but the World Cup final goalscorer refuses to count his chickens before they hatch.

Barca ran out 6-3 aggregate victors in last season's quarter-final showdown with the Gunners but Iniesta is adamant things will be vastly different this time around.

"We are not a machine," he insisted. "It won't be easy. This isn't a walk along the promenade for us.

INIESTA SCORES

Andreas Iniesta made it three goals for Barcelona after scoring in the final minute against Santander. And that gulf is class was in evidence when Andres Iniesta fired Barcelona 3-0 up. David Villa dribbled into the area and waited for Pedros run to roll a ball across the face of the box. Pedro then produced an incredible back flick to waiting Iniesta, who rocketed in a shot that took a deflection as it shot past Toño in the Racing goal. Champagne football from Barca.

INIESTA NOMINATED FOR AWARDS

Andres Iniesta has been nominated for the Best Male Athlete award at Laureus. The Spanish football team, which last year won his first World Cup in South Africa, will compete for the award with the New Zealand rugby, the European team for the Ryder Cup of golf, the Inter Milan football, basketball Los Angeles Lakers and the Formula 1 team Red Bull.

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