Videos and pictures: Andres Iniesta plays final match for Barcelona
Emotional team captain did not leave the Camp Nou pitch until 1.30am
It was an emotional night at the Camp Nou after Andres Iniesta played his final match for Barcelona yesterday.
The midfielder captained La Liga champions Barca to a 1-0 victory against Real Sociedad as the Catalans finished their league season with 93 points from 38 games. They were only defeated once to finish 14 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Philippe Coutinho scored a 57th-minute winner against Sociedad, but the night and celebrations were all for Iniesta.
The playmaker, 34, has won 22 titles in his 16-year career in Barca’s first team, and he was given a fitting farewell by his teammates and the club’s supporters.
Before the match, he was given gifts by Real Sociedad and the Barcelona fans formed a mosaic with the words “Forever Iniesta”.
Iniesta was then given a standing ovation when he was substituted with eight minutes left to play. Once the final whistle came Barca’s players, officials and fans celebrated Iniesta’s outstanding career.
Following the victory, Iniesta was given the microphone and he said: “This is a difficult day but I have spent 22 marvellous years here. It’s been a pride and a pleasure to defend and represent this badge, which for me is the best in the world.
“Thanks to all my teammates, 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.”
Iniesta later stayed on the Camp Nou pitch until 1.30am to reflect on a memorable evening. We look at the best tweets praising the 34-year-old’s stellar career at the Catalan giants.
“End of an era,” says pundit and former Barca player Gary Lineker.
“Enough to make a grown man cry.”
Let the memories sink in…
Rio Ferdinand praises Barca’s farewell.
Thank you, Andres.