Legends often find the love and respect they deserve on the pitch, and it’s even more sweet when rival team fans too, show their energy and appreciation.
Ask Andres Iniesta and he will tell you what that feeling is, as he experienced it when he was substituted in the 88th minute in Barcelona’s 5-0 win over Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final.
The Spaniard played his 669th career club game for Barca as he helped them win a fourth successive Copa del Rey trophy. The legendary 33-year-old was reduced to tears in the dug-out, when he saw the love he received while walking off the pitch.
The Barcelona fans weren’t the only ones that gave him a standing applause, but surprisingly, Sevilla supporters too, got into the groove and joined the cheering.
Everyone in the stadium applauded the great player, with the visibly emotional midfielder walking off the field with his teammates embracing him.
The one-club man shook his hands with manager Ernesto Valverde before taking the seat on the bench, and then broke down in tears after seeing the atmosphere.
This was Iniesta’s supposed last ever Copa del Rey match, after reports earlier stating that he is set to go to China to play out the remainder of his career.
Emotional pic of Iniesta in tears on the bench after receiving the ovation for being subbed out.
Don Andres feeling the historical moment.
Next week Iniesta will announce his departure to China. pic.twitter.com/pP8BkyRZqN
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 21, 2018
Andres Iniesta exits the game.
Both Sevilla and Barça fans give him a standing ovation chanting "INIESTAAAAAAA."
Andres sits on the bench, tears under his eyes.
This is the beautiful game. pic.twitter.com/DR2EVCrUYJ
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) April 21, 2018
He is expected to announce his move to China sometime next week. His switch to Asia will mark the end of an era at Barca, which over the recent years saw legends like Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez bid adieu.