With Friday, August 21st set to feature the first La Liga match of the 2015 2016 season, the countdown is on for all of the football clubs in the division to begin finalizing their rosters. For FC Barcelona, there's not much to do, considering the FIFA-mandated transfer ban that will keep the club from playing any of their new summer transfers until January. One task that did need completing was selecting a new captain. It was announced last week that Andres Iniesta named as Barcelona captain, why Iniesta? And will he be a strong leader?

At the end of Barca's treble-winning 2014 2015 season, the football club said goodbye as captain and longtime player Xavi Hernandez hung up the Barcelona home shirt for good. Xavi will play with Qatari squad Al Sadd for the 2015 2016, and while he was only captain at Camp Nou for a single season, he had been with the team for so long (17 seasons and 767 overall appearances) that moving on without him will be a major adjustment.

Iniesta Wins the Captain's Armband

Unusually at FC Barcelona the choice of captain is made by a player vote, as opposed to the manager choosing like at most clubs. The player vote resulted in midfielder Andres Iniesta being awarded the captain armband, with Lionel Messi earning vice-captain status, and Sergio Busquets and Jaier Mascherano serving as third and fourth captains, respectively.

Based on seniority and respect, it's not difficult to see why Iniesta was selected to wear the captain's armband along with his Barcelona home shirt 2015 2016. Sure, Messi is undoubtedly Barca's most recognizable face, but Iniesta has a longer history with the soccer club, having made his debut for the senior team all the way back in 2002. Like Xavi before him, Iniesta also came up in Barcelona's youth program, which means he's been a constant presence at Camp Nou since 1996.

Andres at Barcelona: A History of Excellence

Iniesta has also accomplished quite a lot in those years, as well. In his 13 seasons as a member of Barca's senior squad, he has made 549 appearances and scored 53 goals across all competitions. In FC Barcelona annals, Andres is the third most capped player in team history, after Xavi and Carles Puyol. Xavi is more
or less untouchable with his 767 caps, but Iniesta could feasibly pass Puyol's tally (593) with a prolific season this year. In 2014 2015, Iniesta had 42 caps for Barcelona. The season before, he had 52. He needs 44 to tie Puyol.

Beyond just pure numbers, though, Andres has also brought results for FC Barcelona. At Camp Nou, he's been a part of seven La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey wins, six Supercopa de
Espana victories, four Champions League triumphs, two Super Cup wins, and two FIFA Club World Cup championships. He's also been a part of both of Barca's treble-winning squads.

Iniesta's resume is no less impressive when it comes to personal football awards. He's been named La Liga's best attacking midfielder on five occasions, only missing the prize once between 2009 and 2014. In 2012, he won UEFA's Best Player in Europe Award, edging out both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by two votes.

In 2010, 2011, and 2012, Iniesa was nominated for FIFA's Ballon d'Or. 2010 saw him shortlisted with Messi and Xavi (meaning Barcelona had all three finalists) and earning second place behind Messi. In 2010, he finished fourth, behind Messi, Ronaldo, and Xavi. And in 2012, he was back in the top three, along with Messi and Ronaldo.

Needless to say, Andres Iniesta is one of the best football players in the world, and is as big a part of Barcelona's history and success as any player currently on the team. He's the perfect choice to take up Xavi's mantle for the 2015 2016 season, and hopefully, his captaincy will be as successful as his predecessor's.

Celebrate Iniesta's newly minted leadership status with a brand new Barcelona shirt from Soccer Box We have the latest designs for Barca's home and away shirts, goalkeeper jersey, and training kits, so that you can stock up on all of your favorite soccer club's gear before the new season begins.