Guardiola's prophetic prediction after watching 15-year-old Iniesta

iniesta guardiola nike cup 1999
The former Barcelona boss was blown away by the young midfielder in 1999 and told Xavi that the talented teenager would outlast them both at Camp Nou

Zlatan Ibrahimovic famously called Pep Guardiola a "philosopher". But while that was meant as a criticism of the Catalan coach due to their prickly relationship at Barcelona, there is no doubt the current Manchester City boss is something of a football visionary.

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Back in 1999, Guardiola was still playing in midfield for Barca and he had been joined in the dressing room at that time by a young Xavi. The latter was seen as his successor but, in the youth ranks at La Masia, another talent was emerging. And this one, Pep predicted, would outlast them both.

Watching a 15-year-old Iniesta in action in the Nike Cup, Guardiola turned to Xavi and said: "You will retire me, but this kid will retire us both." And later, he presented a shy and starstruck Iniesta with the winner's trophy.

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Just two years on, Iniesta started training with the first team and he made his debut under Louis van Gaal in October 2002. Guardiola had already left Barca after a move to Brescia in 2001, but he later returned as coach to build his team around the two diminutive midfielders between 2008 and 2012.

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For a while before that, Iniesta was Barca's 12th man, often used from the bench in Frank Rijkaard's reign as coach. But his time would come. And alongside Xavi, later Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and many more, the Blaugrana began to dominate in a team that ultimately made history, winning the Champions League in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015 and two trebles (in 2009 and 2015).

Much has changed at Camp Nou over the past few years. Guardiola stepped down as coach in 2012, while Xavi left in 2015 and Luis Enrique has also departed after three years in charge. But Iniesta is still around and he remains the shining light in the Barcelona midfield - just as Pep predicted back in 1999.