I arrived as a boy, I leave as a man – Iniesta in emotional Barcelona farewell

The club legend addressed Camp Nou, saying one last goodbye on Sunday following his side’s match against Real Sociedad

An emotional Andres Iniesta broke down in tears as he delivered a farewell speech at Camp Nou after playing his last game for Barcelona .

La Liga champions Barca ended their season with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad but it was all about departing great Iniesta on Sunday.

The 34-year-old midfielder closed the curtain on his illustrious Barcelona career in the 81st minute as he left the field to a rapturous reception upon handing the captain’s armband to Lionel Messi.

After the match and emotional tributes, nine-time La Liga champion and four-time Champions League winner Iniesta addressed the fans.

“Today is a difficult day but it’s been 22 marvellous years. It’s been a pride and a pleasure to defend and represent this badge, for me, the best in the world,” said Iniesta, who made his senior debut in 2002.

“Thanks to all my team-mates, each and every one. I will miss you all so much. And thank you to the fans, for all your love, everything you’ve made me feel since I arrived here as a boy, I leave as a man. I will keep you in my heart forever.

“To finish, this week has left me speechless. Visca Barca, visca Catalunya, and visca Fuentealbilla (his home town).”

Barcelona team-mate Ivan Rakitic heaped praise on his outgoing team-mate, who is rumoured to be joining J.League outfit Vissel Kobe. 


“It is a real pleasure to share all those moments with him,” Rakitic said. “With Andres I won a friend for life, I have a lot of affection for all his family. It will be unforgettable what I have lived with him.”


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