Lionel Messi has branded Andres Iniesta a “phenomenom” after the Barcelona legend announced his decision to leave at the end of the season.
The Spaniard confirmed his plans on Friday during a press conference.
Iniesta’s exit means he will be ending a 22-year association with the club. Speaking at the press conference he said: “This is my last season here.
“I know what the demands are and what it means to play here year after year. I know what it means to be captain of this club. So, being honest with me and the club, I understand that my stage is over.”
Following his speech, team-mate Messi took to social media to pay tribute to his team-mate, and was joined by Neymar, Xavi and Sergio Ramos…
“Andrés, 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 the sport and in your life.
“You are a phenomenon, inside and outside the pitch. We will miss you!!!”
“I already admired you from afar and after I came closer I fell in love with your football and more for the person that you are off the field.
“I will always tell the my friends, children and family that I had the pleasure of celebrating goals and titles at your side.
“Barcelona thanks you, I thank you and soccer lovers thank you for everything you did!!! Lots of luck on your walk always”.
“Partner, teammate, FRIEND. Only your generosity is greater than your talent. It was great playing alongside you!
“Thank you for so much!”
“Thanks, @ andresiniesta8.”
“You are so big!”
“How many wonderful moments we have lived together @andresiniesta8!.
“I want those to stay forever.”
“Good luck, it’s been a pleasure playing next to an idol and a genius like you. In spite of it only being for some months I feel honoured for that. My admiration is not only in the field, I admire you for the great person you are and could know. Thanks @ andresiniesta8.”