Almost half of clubs in La Liga have paid their own tributes to Andres Iniesta, who will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.
Iniesta announced at an emotional Press conference on Friday that he would bring an end to his 22-year association with Barca, and as many as six of the Catalans’ domestic rivals took to social media to commend the midfielder.
“Thanks Andres for your football! Good luck for the future,” tweeted Valencia, while neighbours Villarreal wrote, “the stuff that dreams are made of, Andres Iniesta. Thank you.”
Barca’s neighbours Espanyol put their rivalry to one side, although their Twitter message notably included pictures of the 33-year-old not wearing a Blaugrana jersey.
“Today you announced that you were leaving La Liga, but in the hearts of Pericos, your greatness will always be in our hearts. Keep capturing the hearts of football fans, genius. Thank you very much and good luck!”
Hoy anuncias que dejas nuestra @LaLiga, pero en el corazón de los pericos siempre quedará tu grandeza como deportista. Sigue enamorando a todos los aficionados al fútbol, genio. ¡Muchas gracias y mucha suerte, @andresiniesta8! #RCDE pic.twitter.com/PdE6GGrWYY— RCD Espanyol (@RCDEspanyol) April 27, 2018
Eibar described it as ‘a real pleasure to see one of the best players in the world play at our humble home of Ipurua’, while Sevilla hailed the veteran as a ‘legend’ for his ‘historic’ goal in the 2010 World Cup Final, noting he would ‘always be able to count on the respect and applause’ of their fans.
However, the best of the tributes belonged to Real Betis.
“For your football, your magic off the field, your humility, setting an example to youngsters, your goal in South Africa, because it was a source of price every time you stepped on the Benito Villamarin. We’ll miss you. Thanks for everything, Andres Iniesta.”
Por tu fútbol.— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis) April 27, 2018
Por tu magia fuera del campo.
Por tu humildad.
Por ser un ejemplo para los más pequeños.
Por tu gol en Sudáfrica.
Porque era un orgullo cada vez que pisabas el Benito Villamarín.
Te echaremos de menos.
Gracias por tanto, @andresiniesta8 #Infinit8Iniesta pic.twitter.com/VnnpDKpEFU
Finally, La Liga’s official account repeated ‘thank you, Iniesta’ no less than 13 times.