'He got me to the level I'm at now' - Iniesta lauds 'incomparable' Guardiola

The Spain international claims his former coach was his idol as a youngster and described the 42-year-old's stint in charge of Barcelona as a dream
Andres Iniesta has hailed his time under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona as an "incomparable" experience.

Guardiola lead the Blaugrana between 2008 and 2011 and delivered three Liga crowns and a pair of Champions League titles amongst a total haul of 14 trophies.

And as a Barcelona academy graduate, Iniesta appreciated the chance to work with a club legend, crediting the coach for making the biggest impact on him as a player after watching him play as a youngster.

"I watched his [Guardiola] games on TV and dreamed I could play like him. What surprised me most was his clarity in constructing play," the 29-year-old told Mesto Vstrechy.

"He and [Michael] Laudrup were the most important players in my childhood, so when Guardiola became my coach, it was an incomparable feeling.

"He got me to the level I'm at now."

Iniesta - who has lifted the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain - went on to suggest fellow Camp Nou star Victor Valdes was ready to take Iker Casillas' place between the posts, given the Real Madrid icon's lack of playing time this season.

"He [Casillas] is our symbol, the best goalkeeper in the world, but in the national team there are players who are totally prepared to take his place, like Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina," the midfielder continued.

"I think Victor's moment has arrived, but it's a decision the coach has to make."