Lionel Messi has written the most ideal Instagram message to Andres Iniesta

Instead the title went to his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi for his second of five titles

Instead the title went to his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi for his second of five titles

For a club which prides itself on producing the world's top playmakers and passers, there has been no one quite like Iniesta.

Saying goodbye has become a familiar feeling at Barca, with Iniesta joining a list of players which includes Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez, Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano to leave the club in recent years. The rest, as they say, is history, as Iniesta broke into the senior team in 2002, making just 9 and 17 appearances respectively across all competitions in his first two seasons with the senior team. Not unless something changes in Russian Federation this summer, at least.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu paid tribute to Iniesta, tweeting: "You have the eternal gratitude of Barca fans and the whole football world".

At his peak, Iniesta was a symbol of Spanish possession-based football and to this day, many maintain he should have won the Ballon D´Or in 2010, when he finished second to Lionel Messi.

While never a prolific goal-scorer, Iniesta has come through in the biggest moments for both club and country.

Nonetheless, through his often understated artistry, Iniesta has bled into the psyche of the game.

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Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta gets emotional at a press conference where he confirmed his departure from Barcelona ... on April 27, 2018. His influence off the pitch at Barcelona, as well as on it, has been enormous, as demonstrated by members of the first team and the club´s board attending his press conference on Friday. The club said that they had personal commitments they could not break. "I wanted to be honest with myself".

Iniesta joined Barcelona's training academy at age 12 after leaving his village in southeastern Spain.

"I have spent all my life here at this club and it is not easy to leave", Iniesta said after fighting back tears and regaining his composure. "I want to thank my teammates", he said. I want to thank all my teammates, and my family, especially my wife and my three children, my treasures.

"He is charming, very reserved, and I like people who do their talking on the pitch", Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.

With Barca's 5-0 triumph over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey already being labelled "The Iniesta Final", he surely needs no further reminder of what he means to the people of Barcelona.

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