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The midfielder fondly remembers the Barcelona veteran's decision to let Eric Abidal lift the Champions League trophy as he prepares to bow out of Camp Nou

Xavi has hailed Barcelona team-mate Carles Puyol as an example to follow as the 36-year-old prepares to call time on his Camp Nou career.

Barcelona held a farewell ceremony for the iconic defender on Thursday, who will leave the club this summer after making over 500 official appearances for between 1999 and 2014.

Xavi spoke on behalf of the squad to thank Puyol for his remarkable achievements at the club at paid particular tribute to his decision to let Eric Abidal - who had recently recovered from a battle with liver cancer at the time - lift the Champions League trophy in 2011.

"We have a lot to thank you for: sacrifice, bravery, generosity. You're the most professional player I've ever shared a dressing room with," Xavi said.

"I'll never forget the final at Wembley when I told you that you should lift the cup, even though you'd only played for a few minutes, and you turned round and said to me: 'No, Xavi, Abidal has to lift the cup.'

"You gave me a life lesson. You've always been there for everyone, for the injured, for those who played less, giving them encouragement and advice.

"I'm so proud to have shared my career with you, and I would love to share a project with you here at the club in the future. You are Barcelona, and the club needs you."


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