Andres Iniesta waved goodbye to Barcelona on Sunday and his supposed successor scored the winner as Philippe Coutinho’s superb strike sealed a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad.
Iniesta, with a tear in his eye, walked off to a standing ovation from the Camp Nou when substituted in the second half, having unfastened his captain’s armband and handed it to Lionel Messi.
If Messi is to become Barca’s new leader, Coutinho is the player marked out to assume Iniesta’s creative responsibilities and it was perhaps fitting the Brazilian proved the difference on a night almost entirely devoted to his 34-year-old team-mate.
After his number eight had come up on the fourth official’s board, Iniesta first hugged Messi and then embraced the rest of his colleagues. He clapped the crowd, blew them a kiss, before exhaling and ducking into the dug-out.
After 22 years at the club and 16 in the…
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