andres iniesta has been the best midfielder for #Barcelona for a very long time. His name only comes into the mainstream when the team cannot create chances and score goals. His absence has been felt by the team and league leaders Real Madrid as the capital club have taken advantage of Iniesta's injury to widen the gap at the top of the Spanish league table. In a team that possesses five of the ten best players in the world, what does Andres Iniesta bring to the team, and why is his presence so important to the club?

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Andres Iniesta closes the gap between the midfield and attack

Coach Luis Enrique faced a test away against Real Betis on January 29th when he deployed Arda Turan and Denis Suarez as part of a three-man midfield. Ivan Rakitic accepted an unconventional role in the squad, playing the anchorman who dictated the pace of the game. Many pundits saw this as a bad tactic because Javier Mascherano (a natural defensive midfielder) has been turned into a central defender.

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To outsiders, this could have provided the perfect opportunity for Mascherano to play in his natural role and allow Ivan Rakitic to show his attacking prowess in the final third.

Arda Turan has scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, but his role has been more advanced, replacing Lionel Messi, Neymar Da Silva or Luis Suarez when there is either an injury or suspension.

Barcelona needs Iniesta for four games in 10 days

The soccer calender for the month of February is rough, and Barcelona has been no exception.

With two games at home against Athletic Bilbao in the league and Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Copa del Rey to come, Iniesta is needed to keep up the pace and help the team reach the Copa del Rey final for the third consecutive time.

Aside from this, the team plays two games on the road in mid-February against Deportivo Alaves and Paris Saint Germain, the latter in a round of 16 Champions League match where a first leg score is important in determining the team that progresses to the next stage of the competition.

This sums up the importance of the player not only in creating chances but also boosting the depth of the squad and helping the team achieve great results in a packed month -- and the rest of the season. Iniesta came to the team as a young player, and it's not surprising that he is so dedicated to the club. Others might also follow in his footsteps, and Barcelona have already set their sights on some youngsters.

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Andres Iniesta has been integral to Barcelona's success, and, while healthy, he will continue to bring balance to the team overall.

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