Guardiola salutes legacy of ‘top player’ Iniesta ahead of potential Barcelona exit

The Manchester City boss heaped praise on the midfielder ahead of his expected departure from Camp Nou

Pep Guardiola put Andres Iniesta among the greatest players of his generation as speculation mounts that the midfield maestro will call time on his Barcelona career.

The World Cup-winning Spain stalwart enjoyed a trophy-laden spell under Guardiola’s guidance at Camp Nou from 2008 until 2012, collecting a haul of honours including three La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.

Guardiola was famously impressed by Iniesta in his teenage years, telling Xavi the that he would “retire us all”, and has spoken about the pleasure of managing the virtuoso talent.

“I don’t know if it is true so I prefer to wait and see what his decision is – staying in Barcelona or leaving,” said the Manchester City boss when questioned over Iniesta’s future amid reports he will move to the Chinese Super League.

“Of course, I wish him all the best. It was a joy for me to be his mate because we played together and then I was his manager.”

Iniesta has spent his entire career at Barca but is tipped to announce he will end his stay after the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla this weekend.

Guardiola heaped praise on the 33-year-old, adding: “You cannot imagine what has happened with this legacy for Barcelona and Spanish football these 15 years he was there. A masterclass. A top player.

“He is one of the players who understands the game most thoroughly. It is difficult to find one better than him.

“He is a guy who teaches to the young kids how you have to play, how you control the ball – he is the best example you can show.”

NAIJAXTREME, MD, USA

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