Barcelona players elect Andres Iniesta as new club captain
Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano will be the club's vice-captains.
Barcelona players have elected Andres Iniesta as the club’s new captain, the club’s official website stated. All members of the first team squad had voted to nominate the four club captains for the 2015/16 season and Iniesta came out on top and will now succeed Xavi, who left the Catalan club this summer to join Al Sadd in Qatar.
Lionel Messi came second, followed by Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano. The results of the secret ballot were announced by the club earlier today though the confirmation and official appointment will be made only after getting the approval of the coaching staff, including manager Luis Enrique.
That is expected to be a formality and Iniesta, who is in his 14th season at the Nou Camp expressed his delight at having the opportunity to follow the likes of crowd favourites like Carlos Puyol and Xavi Hernandez. He is no stranger to the captain’s armband though having led the club on many occasions in the previous season as Xavi found opportunities in the starting eleven begin to dry up.
Iniesta is the longest-serving player among the current Barcelona players
He captained the side during Barca’s Champions League triumph over Juventus as well leading from the front by setting up the goal for Ivan Rakitic in the opening minutes of the match that set the tone for the rest of the game. Following the departure of Xavi, Iniesta is now the longest-serving player at Camp Nou, having made his debut in the October 2002 Champions League game away to Bruges.
“Above all it is a very special responsibility to represent not only the team but much more: the kit, the club image,” Iniesta told Mundo Deportivo last week, as reported by Goal.com. “Becoming the first team captain it is something very special, especially for people who have spent so much time at the club.”
“In the same way that all people are different, I don't think there is an exact model of a captain. Everyone is different and communicate things in their own way," Iniesta said.
Messi and Busquets were among the club’s vice-captains last season as well replacing Puyol and goalkeeper Victor Valdes who had left the club at the end of the 2013/14 season. It will be the first time Mascherano has been named among the club’s captains following his arrival in Spain in 2010.
He was replaced as Argentina skipper by his Barca teammate Messi, who is no stranger to the big occasions having led his country in the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America.