FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has admitted that it’s a “privilege” to play alongside Lionel Messi, arguably the best player in the World.

Iniesta, 31, has played alongside the Argentine for 11 years now and hopes to continue doing the same for many more years. The Spanish World Cup winner is considered to be one of the best attacking midfielders of his generation and has been an integral part of FC Barcelona since breaking into the first team 13 years ago.

“Leo has always been unique for me” – Andres Iniesta

Iniesta has won four Champions League titles with the Blaugrana and has been part of one of their most successful periods. However, the 31-year-old feels privileged to have played alongside friend and team-mate Lionel Messi for such a long duration of time. Messi has won a record four Balon D’Ors so far in his career and may very well be set to win another one at the end of this year after helping his team to yet another treble.

“We have experienced all sorts of situations together and we know each other so well,” Iniesta said in an interview, as reported by Goal.

“We have lived alongside one another for such a long time. And to have experienced what we have together is to be very happy.

“The truth is that it is a privilege to play with him. I cannot say much more than that.

“Leo has always been unique for me and hopefully I get to play with him for a lot longer. That’s what matters.”

Lionel Messi has been nothing short of inspirational for FC Barcelona having scored an incredible 412 goals in 482 appearances, since his debut at the age of 17.

Iniesta to adopt a more withdrawn role to increase his longevity?

Iniesta has suffered a dip in form as well as goal-scoring in the last two seasons with the Catalan giants and started a relatively low 19-league games for the La Liga champions last term. The mid-fielder has been used in a number of positions recently, however, the 31-year-old would likely want to settle into a more withdrawn role as opposed to the attacking role he has been used to. Interestingly, the Spanish midfielder had started his career as a defensive midfielder.

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Midfielders in their thirties are known to re-invent their game and play in a more deeper role. This practice is carried out by players seeking to enhance their longevity in the game while being influential at the same-time. The players use their invaluable experience to influence play from a more withdrawn role, dictating the play while orchestrating the attacks. Iniesta possesses a brilliant first touch coupled with excellent passing range and vision, and these qualities can prove to be instrumental if the 31-year-old wants to feature regularly for FC Barcelona.