Sunday at the Camp Nou was a special and emotional day as Andres Iniesta played his 670th and final game for Barcelona as the league champions closed out the 2017-18 Spanish Primera Division season against Real Sociedad.
Here’s how the day unfolded.
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The Camp Nou crowd participated in several pre-match displays of support for the midfielder, not least the “Infinit Iniesta” message.
He even received a “pasillo” (guard of honour) from the Sociedad players before the match.
As Barca captain for the final time, Iniesta lines up alongside Sociedad captain Asier Illarramendi.
Then, in a nice touch of respect, Iniesta takes photos with Xabi Prieto, a one-club player for Real Sociedad, before his final game for his club as well.
LEGENDS 😢💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/md8u3Z5XhS
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It doesn’t take long for Iniesta to settle into his rhythm and as has been so often the case in his career, ending up in possession with several opponents trying to dispossess him.
The penalty for being so good on the ball? A nasty foul from Illarramendi.
The other major tribute in the crowd was a simple one: “Thanks for everything.”
In the end, Iniesta didn’t score but Philippe Coutinho’s free kick gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead midway through the second half.
Coutinho’s goal, his 10th for his new club since joining in January, would give Barca a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.
With just under 10 minutes left, the call was made: Iniesta would get his curtain call, subbed off and replaced by Paco Alcacer. He received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd as he left the pitch.
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Both teams even took the time to applaud him off.
Alcacer was all smiles as his teammate and footballing legend left the Camp Nou surface for the final time in Barca colours.
Finally, his manager Ernesto Valverde was there to congratulate him after he exited.
And he took a lap around the pitch with his children and teammates after the final whistle.
Iniesta leaves Barcelona after a glittering career in which he won 32 trophies since making his senior debut as an 18-year-old back in 2002, including nine league titles, four Champions Leagues, three FIFA Club World Cups and three UEFA Super Cups.
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