Since his injury last October, he has not played more than 3 consecutive matches as starter
Aged 31, Andrés Iniesta is showing his most mature version as footballer. The midfielder perfectly understood new concepts introduced by Luis Enrique and we could see his most completed version. Apart from his usual fineness and intelligence when playing with the ball, Iniesta improved in many aspects like pressing, recovering of position and moving around the field to cover his mates' adventures.
Conscious that he has a delicate physique and that every season he usually suffers a muscular injury, FC Barcelona's staff is really focused in taking care of Iniesta on the grass. Luis Enrique is pampering the footballer because he knows he needs him 100% ready when the key matches come. There's no other player like him on the squad and, for that reason, it's basic to avoid muscular fatigue to the sweetest player in the squad.
1 - Only one injury
This season, Iniesta has only been out for 4 weeks after an injury last September when facing Bayer Leverkusen. The rest of the year, he calculated his efforts and avoided unnecessary minutes. He knows his body and is working injury prevention, as he is one of the most professional players in the team.
2 - He never plays more than 3 matches as starter
Since he got injured, Luis Enrique rationed Iniesta's appearances, so he has not played more than 3 matches as starter. In December, he had 3 matches left. In January, 3. In February, 2. And In March, 1 so far. After the match vs Eibar last Sunday, Iniesta will start against Getafe a new cycle where he will have been 10 days without playing.
3 - Minutes of quality
In the management of rotations, Luis Enrique let Iniesta rest in the less important matches. In Copa del Rey, he hasn't played any second leg. In La Liga, he missed matches vs Betis, Granada, Sporting and Eibar. However, he has never missed big games. The good results in La Liga might allow Luis Enrique keep him for the key Champions League matches.
4 - 10th most used player
In global terms, Iniesta has played 56% of the minutes. He is the 10th most used player for Luis Enrique, with 2,454 minutes. Compared to other seasons, with Tata Martino he was the 6th most used footballer (70% of the minutes.) In 2010/11, with Guardiola, he played 73% of the minutes and ended up being the 4th most used footballer, the season he has played more.
5 - And without Xavi
One of Luis Enrique's merits this season is that he gave rest to Iniesta and the team didn't even notice that. Furthermore, this happened in the first season without Xavi, the season when a midfielder, Rafinha, got injured and in a moment when the team couldn't get new players until January. In this sense, Sergi Roberto's irruption, Rakitic's strength and Luis Enrique's good management have been key for Iniesta to reach the decisive part of the season in perfect conditions.