'You are a phenomenon!' - Messi posts emotional Barcelona farewell to Iniesta

The 33-year-old confirmed he will leave the Catalan side at the end of the season and his Camp Nou attacking colleague gave him a social send-off

Lionel Messi says it has been a "privilege" to play alongside Andres Iniesta as he thanked the midfielder in the wake of his announcement that he will leave Barcelona.

Iniesta, 33, confirmed in a press conference on Friday that his 21-year association with the Catalan side will come to an end this summer.

Messi was one of the few Barca stars not present as the Spaniard announced his departure, but was sure to pay his respects on social media.

The Barca captain has spent his entire club career playing alongside Iniesta, winning four Champions League titles while they are just a point away from a ninth La Liga crown, a period the Argentine says he will never forget.

"Andres, thank you for all these years of football," he wrote on Instagram. "It was a privilege to enjoy this sport by your side and have so many unforgettable moments together. 


Een bericht gedeeld door Leo Messi (@leomessi) op

"I wish you all the best in this new stage in sports and in your life. You are a phenomenon, on and off the field. We will miss you!"

After winning the Copa del Rey with a 5-0 win over Sevilla in the final, Iniesta and Co. only need a draw from Sunday's game against Deportivo La Coruna to be confirmed league champions.


This cartoon will hit you right in the feels… Messi, Xavi + Iniesta’s magical Barcelona triangle over the years

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The Camp Nou outfit will then host Real Madrid and Villarreal before the last game of the season against Real Sociedad, where Barca will hold a special farewell for the World Cup winner.

Tributes have flown in for the Spain international since his tearful press conference, with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, defender Sergio Ramos, former team-mate Cesc Fabregas have all said he should have won the Ballon d'Or during his career, while Neymar recalled how he "fell in love" with him.

"From 2004 until now, [Iniesta] has been the most important player we have had because he has been in every coach's project since [Frank] Rijkaard," Barca president Jose Maria Bartomeu said of the iconic player.