The faces of FC Barcelona are some of the biggest names in world football. Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol have become the players most associated with the Blaugranas over the years, but on current form, it's debatable that none of them are the most important player for Barcelona. Going into El Clasico against Real Madrid, Andres Iniesta could be the man most likely to make a massive impact for Barcelona. He's been overshadowed by Xavi in the past, but he's been Barcelona's best creative force early in this season.
Barcelona have struggled to break down Real Madrid when they've played their trivot tactics, playing with three midfielders with defensive responsibilities instead of two, plus a trequarista. It's going to be difficult for Barcelona to get through them, and according to SB Nation's FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes, Iniesta is the man to make it happen.
Iniesta takes up position on the attacking edge of midfield. While Xavi tracks back to help bring the ball up, Andrés stays focused on goal, no matter if he's 35 yards out. Always aware of the opposing defense and the position of his own strikers, by the time Barça get him the ball, Iniesta has an ideal attacking scenario fully formed in his sizable skull.
With dribbling abilities second to none, and a fair amount of quicks remaining in his 27-year-old legs, Iniesta is a pure danger man on the ball. Inviting defenders to close him down too tightly, Iniesta can get past anybody that doesn't give him enough respect. If space is given, he'll eat it up quickly, getting as close to goal and attracting as many defenders as possible. When the moment is right, he'll unleash a dagger through-ball, take a crack of his own, or win a corner kick.
Not only is Iniesta incredibly skilled and in excellent form, he's as clutch as they come. His game-winning goals at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League semifinal and in the World Cup final are two of the biggest goals in world football, period over the last three years. While the commentary may be focused on Messi and Xavi, Iniesta is just as big for the Cules.
We'll have live coverage of El Clasico from just before 4:00 p.m. ET, when lineups are released. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and FC Barcelona blog Barca Blaugranes. Check out SB Nation Soccer and our El Clasico StoryStream for more in the build-up to the game. For more from around the world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.