Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique has hailed Andres Iniesta as a global emblem of the sport ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga match at Leganes.
Iniesta is marking 20 years since his arrival at Barcelona and Luis Enrique picked out the midfielder for special praise at his pre-match media conference on Friday.
The 32-year-old has won eight league titles with Barca, as well as two European Championships and the 2010 World Cup with Spain to build one of the most glittering records in football history.
“Andres is a marvellous player,” Luis Enrique said. “It’s a wonderful landmark that he’s been here for 20 years, leaving his family behind to come here as a child.
“Now he’s the club captain and an emblem not just in Spain and Europe, but all around the world.
“I’d highlight the way he’s done it, too, the values he has. I don’t think he’s been sent off, no one remembers him doing anything nasty, neither in victory nor in defeat.
“It’s a pleasure to have him as captain for everything that he represents. There won’t be many Iniestas.”
Barcelona are again expected to rotate their squad for the match against Leganes as they seek to bounce back from a shock 2-1 league loss at home to Alaves last weekend, but Luis Enrique is happy with his options.
“We have a squad, all the players that go out are Barca players and you have to support them,” Luis Enrique said.
“These type of comparisons [between the Alaves and Celtic teams] don’t make any sense. Get behind the players. It’s not like we have a J team, a H team or a Z team, we have a squad. All the players are Barca players.
“We are on a cycle of seven games, with two down, we obviously have to plan for these things and make decisions as we go.
“We have Atletico [on Wednesday], games in Vigo, Germany and then the international break. We have to adapt what we can and make sure we get positive results for the team.
“What’s happened has happened [the Alaves defeat]. There will be other games like that, but the question is whether we win the title in May, not if we’ve lost against X team or Y team.”