Barcelona defender Lucas Digne has said that the Catalan club are “doing everything” to go through the Primera Division campaign undefeated to give Andres Iniesta a spectacular send off.
The 34-year-old midfielder will depart the club at the end of the season after 22 years at Camp Nou, having graduated from the academy.
Ernesto Valverde’s side, meanwhile, have already tied down the league championship but having negotiated their opening 36 matches of the season without a defeat, now have their eyes set on the objective of finishing off an almost flawless league campaign.
“We’ll do everything we can on the pitch to say thank you in his last games at the club,” the Frenchman told Goal .
“I have been asked so many times about playing with Lionel Messi, and everybody knows that he is from another planet when it comes to football.
“But I am also extremely proud to have played with Iniesta. For me he's one of the greatest players of all time, and he is a true idol on and off the pitch. When I arrived in Barcelona, Iniesta was the first player to give me a call and say: ‘Welcome to the club.’ He is so classy.”
Only Levante and Real Sociedad stand in the way of Barca becoming La Liga’s first ever ‘Invincible’ side, and Digne says the squad is determined to achieve that record.
“We want to be the ‘Invincibles’,” he said. “That would be an amazing achievement in the strongest league in the world. Of course it’s a record that the team wants to go for. It’s important for us and we’ll give everything to achieve it.
“We have so much quality in the team and in the whole squad, and we have shown that consistency this season going unbeaten for so long. We’ve gone 43 matches unbeaten in La Liga since last season, and that record shows the hard work of the whole group.”
Barcelona gave a show of strength in midweek as they thumped Villarreal 5-1, with Digne, who is expected to be named in Didier Deschamps’ France squad for World Cup 2018, at the forefront in that match with an assist for Paulinho.
“I am not surprised that we played so well against Villarreal,” he explained. “Winning 5-1 with a super performance from the whole team just proves what we are made of.
“We play for titles and we have bagged them. But we don’t stop playing well and working hard because we also play for the pride of the club and of the culés, the supporters.”
Digne reflected upon another outstanding season for the club, in which they also won the Copa del Rey, though he did admit the squad have one regret over the course of the campaign, the 3-0 loss to Roma in the Champions League
“Winning the double is something exceptional,” he said. “We have to remember that this is a fantastic season, even considering the extremely high standards of Barca.
“There has only been one negative: leaving the Champions League too early. But it is a cup competition where anything can happen and where just one single off-day or one small piece of bad luck can change white to black.”
The left-back is content with what he has achieved over the past couple of years at Camp Nou and the collection of medals he has amassed with the club.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself: I am only 24 and the Copa del Rey a few weeks ago was my 11th club title, and now La Liga is number 12,” he said. “All players love to win games and titles.
“I have been in Barcelona for two years now and it has been great. For sure I have progressed a lot since arriving as a 22-year-old. Playing with the greatest players in the world and in the best league gives you fantastic experience on the pitch.
“I feel that I have played well, when I have played. And that is all I can do. I had a great feeling that I had given a good performance after the Villarreal game.