"Today is a difficult day but it's been 22 marvelous years; I arrived as a boy and leave as a man" – Iniesta’s emotional farewell to Barcelona
Iniesta broke down in tears after delivering a farewell speech
The 34-year-old Spanish midfielder closed the curtain on his illustrious Barcelona career handing the captain's armband to Lionel Messi.
Andres Iniesta, a Spanish professional and the star of Barca, broke down in tears after delivering a farewell speech at Camp Nou after playing his last game for Barcelona.
La Liga champions Barca ended their season with a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad but it was all about departing great Iniesta on Sunday.
The 34-year-old Spanish 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.
Iniesta who made the debut in 2002 said, "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."
"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. He said, "It is a real pleasure to share all those moments with him." "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."
Making his debut in 2002, the midfielder was handed his Barca bow in a group game away to FC Brugge and played the 90 full minutes in a 1-0 win With Louis van Gaal as coach in 2002-03.
Iniesta scored the victorious goal in the match against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup final held at Soccer City, Johannesburg.
Iniesta has earned several titles including major titles such as La Liga Best Spanish Player (2009), World Cup Dream Team (2010), FIFA Ballon d'Or: 2nd place 2010, 4th place 2011, 3rd Place 2012, and La Liga Best Attacking Midfielder: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.