Philippe Coutinho posts emotional tribute to Andres Iniesta


"I have said I will never play against Barca, so I won't play in Europe". Dated November 1993, Iniesta would have been just nine years of age at the time.

A graduate of Barcelona's famed La Masia Academy, Iniesta's time with the Catalan giants coincided with arguably the best period in the club's history.

He admitted to a hard beginning in Barcelona, as he missed his home close to Albacete in central Spain, and later confessed to "crying rivers" because he missed his parents.

And former team-mate Neymar, who swapped Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world record deal during the summer, has joined his fellow professionals; posting a heartfelt message on Instagram claiming his story will be passed through generations.

Andres Iniesta took two deep breaths, and then said the words that announced his story-book career at Barcelona was coming to an end.

The midfielder has won two European Championships with his country as well as a World Cup winner's medal in 2010, scoring the victor in extra-time in the final against the Netherlands.

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With Barcelona, he's become an eight-time (soon to be nine) La Liga champion, six-time Copa del Rey victor and four-time Champions League victor. His was also the goal that made Spain the champion of the planet for the first and only time. What he did after he scored in the World Cup (final) in 2010 in South Africa, the winning goal, by showing the shirt with Dani Jarque's name (the Espanyol player who had died of a heart attack in 2009) - it touched us. They regularly applauded him when he was substituted. "The people believes the manager had the players but he helped me to understand the game better". That will likely be his last chance to add to his glorious career with the national side.

The one trophy which has eluded Iniesta in his glittering career is the Ballon d'Or, handed out each year to the world's best player.

"I want to be remembered as a great footballer and a great player".

"It's a very hard day for me, to be here saying goodbye when I've spent my whole life here at Barcelona".

Meanwhile, Iniesta has played 125 times for Spain, winning the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and, of course, the 2010 World Cup.