Guardiola expresses gratitude after Iniesta announces Barcelona departure

END OF AN ERA: Iniesta confirms Barca exit

Emotional Andres Iniesta Confirms Barca Exit

Loved by Catalans and opponents, he is one of only a few players that opposition could not just hate.

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta during his career. And his skills in a team should have won him this accolade.

"There are still things to work out, different things".

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta on Friday confirmed he would be leaving the club after a glorious 22-year spell and Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand took to Instagram to post a glowing tribute to the Spanish midfielder. "It is a decision I have thought about a lot with myself and my family", said Iniesta with tears in his eyes. I said I would never play against Barca, so it's not going to be in Europe.

"The club has placed its confidence and I have always said that if I am not able to give my all to my club that has given me everything then I wouldn't be happy". It's the main reason towards understanding that my time here is at an end.

"I need to thank him because he helped me to understand the game better - just watching him, what he does on the football pitch". Soon, I'll be 34 and I have given everything over the year.

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He will no doubt receive a special send off after all that he's done for the Catalan club, but newspaper Mundo Deportivo want the World Cup victor to get a special guard of honour whereby both Real and Barca players pay tribute to him on 6 May at the Nou Camp. Iniesta continued: "My only aim was to be a success at this club and I have done that".

But beyond the numbers, Iniesta became one of the most loyal representatives of a style that dazzled world football with Josep Guardiola as coach (2008-2012) and with Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi as its main partners in the field.

Many still consider an injustice that Iniesta did not receive the Golden Ball in that 2010 and this week the magazine "France Football", which since 1956 delivers the award, he apologized for never having recognized him as the best in the world.

Another former manager, Louis Van Gaal, also used choice words in describing the 33-year-old.

"If I'd imagined how my career would end here, this is it". Not only because he is a great player but because he is an excellent human being.

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