Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola led the plaudits after Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta confirmed he would be leaving the Nou Camp at the end of the season.
Guardiola coached 33-year-old Iniesta, who has won 31 trophies with Barca in 16 seasons with the club, as well as tasting success in three major tournaments with Spain.
Iniesta is expected to move to the Chinese Super League although no announcement has been made publicly regarding his next destination.
He first joined the club as a 12-year-old and has made 669 appearances for Barcelona – second on the club’s all-time list behind former team-mate Xavi.
And Guardiola acknowledged the significance of the announcement: “He’s another part of the history of Barca, the last 15 or 20 years would not be possible without him,” he said. “I just want to say thank you because he helped me to understand the game better.
“Just watching him, what he does on the football pitch despite of the amount of tackles, the way he’s a professional.
“It was a pleasure – I learned a lot just being with him.”