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Cristiano Ronaldo Beaten by Andres Iniesta to Golden Foot 2014 Award

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2014

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - OCTOBER 13:  Andres Iniesta Ortiz attends the Golden Foot 2014 Awards Ceremony at Sporting Club on October 13, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images for Golden Foot)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Andres Iniesta has been selected as the 2014 Golden Foot award winner, beating the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery and Manuel Neuer to the prize.

As reported by Marca, this particular award "recognises the career achievements of a player aged 28 or over." While Iniesta hasn't posted the best calendar year by his standards—achieving no trophies with Barcelona or Spain—his career is crammed with accolades which set him apart from the majority.

The Blaugrana's official Twitter account posted an image of Iniesta with his award:

FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 @FCBarcelona

Andrés Iniesta has won the Golden Foot 2014 award in Monaco this evening http://t.co/A0Y3vFCUUb http://t.co/7HynlNHRaY

As reported by Kieran Gill of the Daily Mail, Iniesta himself responded on Twitter, saying, "Thank you very much everyone for this award... Golden Foot 2014!" 

Barca's website details the process which saw Iniesta pick up the prize. After being placed on the shortlist by a panel of judges, fans then voted in an Internet poll to decide the winner. Alongside Iniesta's aforementioned contenders, Andrea Pirlo, Thiago Silva, Yaya Toure, Thierry Henry and women's football star Marta were considered for the award.

Iniesta joins a select group of winners, as noted in the table below:

Previous Winners of the Golden Foot Award
YearWinner
2003Roberto Baggio
2004Pavel Nedved
2005Andriy Shevchenko
2006Ronaldo
2007Alessandro Del Piero
2008Roberto Carlos
2009Ronaldinho
2010Francesco Totti
2011Ryan Giggs
2012Zlatan Ibrahimovic
2013Didier Drogba
2014Andres Iniesta
FCBarcelona.com
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Iniesta prepares to step into the mixture which creates his golden foot.
Iniesta prepares to step into the mixture which creates his golden foot.Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

The victor's career is one many will have dreamed of. Iniesta has remained a one-club man since moving to Barcelona in 1996, where he developed through the La Masia academy and into the senior spotlight. The technical midfielder's playing style alongside Xavi Hernandez has defined an era of both Barcelona and Spanish success.

Iniesta is a master of ball retention, possesses the intelligence to pull off incisive passes and has been a consistent match-winner over the years.

In fact, Iniesta has won 21 club trophies at the Camp Nou. He also scored the World Cup-winning goal in 2010 and captured glory at both European Championships in 2008 and 2012. While Spain suffered a humbling exit at the 2014 World Cup, Iniesta is part of the generation that has won it all.

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - OCTOBER 13:  Roger Milla (L) and Andres Iniesta receive the Golden Foot Award trophy during the Golden Foot Award 2014 ceremony at Sporting Club on October 13, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images fo
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

On a personal level, Iniesta also possesses an enviable collection of individual trophies. The 30-year-old was named Best Player in Europe for 2012 after winning the Euro 2012 Player of the Tournament.

He has appeared in numerous Team of the Tournament selections for both club and country, but he is yet to capture the Ballon d'Or. Iniesta finished second, fourth and third, respectively, between 2010-12, but like so many others, he is finding it impossible to overcome Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Spaniard appeared pleased with his Golden Foot recognition, however, noted by AS English:

AS English @English_AS

SELFIE ALERT: Iniesta looking pretty chuffed with his party after winning the Golden Foot award in Monaco http://t.co/Z5u5GV7LFs

While Barcelona are sitting atop La Liga with an unbeaten record after seven matches, Iniesta is yet to register a goal or assist in five appearances, per WhoScored.com. He set up a goal during the 3-2 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain, but there's definitely room for improvement.

Iniesta's natural creativity and ability to maintain possession is key for Barcelona, particularly now that Xavi is being used in a rotational role. The fleet-footed player often floats wide before moving into the centre, a part of his game which has been limited since the likes of Neymar arrived.

Adaptability is key to any world-class star, though, as Iniesta is forced to deal with both ageing legs and a new era of Barca stars to maintain his relevancy. Although his time to win the Ballon d'Or may have passed, Iniesta's Golden Foot victory is recognition for a player who will be fondly remembered years after he calls time on his career.

A generation of grandfathers will show their family videos of his movement and subtle control over the match, as Iniesta remains an example to any young player looking to make it big. Selflessness isn't often apparent in football, but it's one special attribute that will allow the Spaniard to continue shining for the rest of his playing days.

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