Messi absence from Iniesta farewell announcement explained

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LLUIS GENE
The midfielder confirmed his imminent departure from the Spanish side, but the absence of the attacking duo raised a few eyebrows

As Andres Iniesta made the "difficult" announcement that his Barcelona career will soon come to an end, the iconic midfielder was able to rely on the support of his team-mates who were present as he confirmed his decision. However, there were two glaring absentees from the group of players who turned up for the emotional moment: Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Iniesta has been a constant presence in the Barca first team for the entirety of Messi's senior career and has achieved world domination with the club talisman, so his non-appearance at Friday's press conference raised a few eyebrows.

Although Suarez's absence has not been explained, Messi's entourage were quick to insist that the Argentine was missing because of a "personal affair" and Barcelona stated that there was a clash of schedules. However, the captain will be there to pay homage to Iniesta at a private event the club have arranged.

Iniesta will then be given a final public farewell after Barca's last game of the season against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

The Spaniard joined the youth system at the age of 12 before making his first-team debut in the 2002-03 season, and a glittering career has followed.

"It's a very difficult day for me, to be here saying goodbye when I've spent my whole life here at Barcelona," he said on Friday.

"A great deal of who I am, is down to Barca and La Masia - I am very thankful to them."

The Spain international will end his career with a domestic double as the Catalan side close in on another league title. After winning the Copa del Rey with a 5-0 victory over Sevilla last week, a point against Deportivo on Sunday would see them crowned La Liga champions for the ninth time in Iniesta's career.

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Lionel Messi Andres Iniesta Barcelona

The 33-year-old was denied a fifth Champions League crown when Barca were eliminated by Roma in the quarter-finals.

It is not yet known where Iniesta will end up after departing Camp Nou. Although he has been closely linked to a move to China, the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Manchester City have all been mentioned lately. 

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