Football: Club World Cup - Barcelona penpics

06 December 2011 04:46

Penpics for European champions Barcelona ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup, which starts on Thursday:

LIONEL MESSI (striker)

The Argentine forward is already being talked about as one of the finest players of all time despite being only 24 years old. He moved from his home town of Rosario aged 13 with Barcelona happy to pay for treatment for Messi's growth hormone deficiency having seen his potential in a trial match. Possessing speed off the mark and mesmerising dribbling skills, he is a key member of the present team and was named FIFA World Player of the Year for the last two years.

XAVI HERNANDEZ (midfielder)

One of the more understated members of the Barcelona and Spain teams, Xavi is nonetheless an integral part of both sides. He made his club debut back in 1998 under coach Louis van Gaal and is now one of the veterans of the Barca team aged 31. Xavi's strongest position is as a ball player in front of the back four where he can pick up possession and has a complete range of short and long passes in his repertoire. Although not a dribbler or a player graced with great pace, he has the ability to turn and make space for himself and then find the killer pass.

ANDRES INIESTA (midfielder)

The 27-year-old is one of the most heralded products of the Barcelona youth academy. Although he has only a slight build, he fits perfectly into Barcelona's system of quick-passing football as he has excellent technique and movement. Iniesta is more of an attacking player than Xavi with the ability to beat a player and has scored some memorable goals, most notably a strike in stoppage time against Chelsea in the semi-final of the 2009 Champions League, and the extra-time winner in the 2010 World Cup final against Holland.


He was the iconic figure of Johan Cruyff's famous "Dream Team" of the early 1990s and returned to Barcelona for a season as youth coach before taking over the reigns of the first team for the 2008-09 season. He readily admits that his footballing philosophy is based on the attacking style which Cruyff introduced to Barcelona and relies heavily on good technique and movement. Preparation and discipline though are also important elements to Guardiola's style of coaching, an influence from his playing days in Italy.

Source: AFP