They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. They also say there is always one exception that proves any given rule. I don’t really know what to do with these two chestnuts but they seem relevant to the fact that Andrés Iniesta has moved to Japan and apparently transformed into Lionel Messi.
Iniesta, the former Barcelona legend who left the only club he’d ever known this summer to join Japanese team Vissel Kobe, is famous for being a genius in the attacking end. But as breathtaking as his dribbles and passes and movement have consistently been over the years, he has somewhat curiously failed to rack up the number of goals you might predict from an advanced midfielder in the most successful attacking team in history.
In his 14 years as a regular starter for Barça, Iniesta averaged just 2.4 goals per season in league play. During that span, he ended more La Liga seasons knocking in zero goals (3) than those in which he scored more than four (2). The two most iconic moments of his career might be that goal against Chelsea and that goal against the Netherlands, but instances of him putting the ball into the back of the net himself have been few and far between.
Until now, that is. Iniesta has only made three starts for his new Japanese club, but in two of those matches he’s scored. And these haven’t been just any old goals; they are absolute stunners. Take the one he scored this weekend, which came from an outrageously silky touch and turn:
He followed that one up with a banger earlier today:
Maybe it’s not that Iniesta learned a new trick, but that in his old age he’s finally getting to show off the full repertoire of tricks he’s always possessed.