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Messi, Neymar, Suarez and Rakitic lead Iniesta tributes

Omnisport
NEWS
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5.52K   //    28 Apr 2018, 02:43 IST
Lionel Messi with Andres Iniesta
Lionel Messi with Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta has called time on his career-long association with Barcelona, with the midfield genius set to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season.

Iniesta has already guaranteed he will go out having won yet more silverware, scoring a delightful goal in a 5-0 demolition of Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final, and his ninth LaLiga title is expected to follow this weekend.

A move to the Chinese Super League has been mooted for Iniesta, although Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has stressed the Spain international will always be welcomed back.

Iniesta's announcement on Friday led to football figures paying emotional tributes to one of the greats of the game - and we have picked out some of the best.

Lionel Messi

"Andres, thank you for all these years of football. It was a privilege to enjoy this sport by your side and spend so many unforgettable moments together. I wish you all the best in this new stage in sport and in your life. You are a phenomenon, inside and outside the pitch. We will miss you!!!"

Sergi Roberto

"You have been a reference for me since I came to Barcelona. It has been a pleasure to share so many moments with you. Thank you very much for everything Andres Iniesta. You are an example for everyone!"

Ivan Rakitic

"Thanks Andres Iniesta! My captain, my team-mate, my friend. Good luck to you and your family in your new challenge!"

Luis Suarez

"Today you made public your decision, but luckily I HAVE TIME TO CONTINUE ENJOYING YOURSELF, my friend!!! YOU ARE TOP CAPTAIN."

Neymar

"Maestro, an honour to be part of his career in Barcelona, ​​I already admired you from afar and after I came to be closer I fell in love with his football and more for the person that you are out of the field... I will always tell my friends, children and family that I had the pleasure of celebrating goals and titles at his side. Barcelona thanks you, I thank you and soccer lovers thank you for everything you did !!! Lots of luck on your walk always, hug CAPI Andres Iniesta."

Juan Mata

"I always dreamed of playing football like Andres."

David de Gea

"Thank you for making a whole country dream. It's a pleasure to play at your side."

Gary Lineker

"Andres Iniesta is to leave Barcelona. One of the great midfielders of this or any other generation. A truly joyous footballer who has won absolutely everything with his club and country. Have a lot of luck in everything you do."

David Silva

"It's been a long road and we've got one more step. Proud to have shared a shirt with one of the best people in the world of sports."

Samuel Umtiti

"Thank you captain, thank you teacher. It was an honour and a pride to play alongside you during those two seasons. An example."

Gerard Pique

"We'll miss you. We'll miss you."

Javier Mascherano

"What a privilege to have played with you, but even more to have known you, friend. You marked a time in Barcelona and in Spain. Now to continue enjoying your soccer wherever you go."

Saul Niguez

"Football will miss you friend."

Bojan Krkic

"I'm grateful to football for having given me the opportunity to meet and learn from a player like Andres. Unique on the pitch and above all as a person."

Marc Bartra

"One of the best in the history of football, which has made all lovers of this sport enjoy. Proud of the moments we share in the field and as a professional, but above all what I learned from you as a person. We will miss you Don Andres." 

Mario Suarez

"I've been lucky enough to play some games by your side and a lot against it. Andres Iniesta you're an example to everyone. PS: If you finally decide to come to China you will be more than welcome in this great country, you will enjoy, and be a great push for this football league."

Iker Casillas

"It has been a pleasure to be able to enjoy your soccer in Spain and to share shirts with you. Together, we won the most beautiful. Separately, maximum rivalry with the utmost respect! Luck Andres Iniesta in your new stage."

Pedro

"Thanks Andres Iniesta, it has been a great honour to play alongside you. Good luck in your next stage."

Mohamed Elneny

"Don't leave Andres!! The truth, not only the fans enjoy your performance, we do too. The fun and joy of football will never be the same without you out there!"

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