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Philippe Coutinho posts emotional tribute to Andres Iniesta

30 April, 2018, 03:46 | Author: Greg Wolfe
  • Instead the title went to his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi for his second of five titles

"When the season is over we will know my choice".

9 - While never a Ballon d'Or victor, Iniesta has been included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI on nine occasions - only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have more appearances (11). "All parents would want to have a son like Iniesta".

A plethora of players around the world have already paid tribute, and now so has Lionel Messi.

Iniesta, who has won 34 major honours in his career and basically completed football, couldn't hold back the tears in his press conference on Friday.

The Spain worldwide was on the scoresheet as Barca downed Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final on 21 April - in what is expected to be his last final with the Blaugrana. That was his and Messi's club record 31st title with Barcelona, and the team just needs to win one of its last five matches to clinch the Spanish league title.

Iniesta is still playing regularly for the La Liga outfit. He featured 149 times under Frank Rijkaard, more than under any other coach.

The two went head-to-head in two UEFA Champions League finals (2009 and 2011), with Barcelona trumping United on both occasions and Iniesta was the fulcrum of that dominant Blaugrana side.

"My only aim was to be a success at this club and I have done that".

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Deceptively sleek with his dribbling skills and uncanny knack for a game-winning pass, Iniesta was a master at unlocking opponents' best-laid defenses.

Zinedine Zidane said Iniesta should have won the Ballon d'Or in 2010 after helping Spain win the World Cup. He is widely admired and loved by fans across the country for his winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup and his role in Spain winning the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

He scored the extra-time victor in the 1-0 final victory over Holland and was named man of the match as Spain won the World Cup for the first time. We have had unique, magical moments with him at our side. They regularly applauded him when he was substituted.

Iniesta joined Barcelona's youth academy when he was 12. He has become an unquestioned favorite of Barcelona's supporters, even with Catalans who sympathize with the region's secessionist movement. "Being honest with myself and with the club that has given me everything, I understand my time here is done due to the simple fact that Club that welcomed me at 12 years of age deserves the best of me", he added. The recognition he has had at all levels of global football is not earned by chance.

But true to his demeanor, Iniesta has never complained.

"The history Barcelona have lived in the last 15 years would not be possible without him".

Coutinho has settled in during his first four months with Ernesto Valverde's team, but the 25-year-old Brazilian has very big boots to fill.

Now in charge at Manchester City, Guardiola said: "I want to say thank you".

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