Search icon


07th May 2018

Zinedine Zidane went to impressive lengths to give Andres Iniesta a personal farewell

Iniesta played in his final El Clasico on Sunday night

Darragh Murphy

There was no guard of honour but there was plenty of respect from Zinedine Zidane to one Barcelona player in particular.

Andres Iniesta took part in his final El Clasico match on Sunday night, when there was plenty of bad blood on the pitch.

Eight yellow cards and a sending-off for Sergi Roberto on the stroke of half-time tells you everything you need to know about the tone of the game, which ended 2-2 and kept the hosts’ undefeated La Liga season alive.

Iniesta was withdrawn after an hour and received a raucous round of applause from the sold out Camp Nou when he was replaced by Paulinho.

Iniesta is set to leave his boyhood club later this month and despite the fierce rivalry between the two biggest teams in Spain, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was determined to give the Barca midfielder the farewell he deserves after the match.

Zidane waited in the tunnel for five minutes so that he could hug and chat with the 33-year-old, who has been with Barcelona since 1996.

If anyone can appreciate the work of a creative midfielder, it’s Zidane and the Frenchman was full of praise for Iniesta in the build-up to Sunday’s game.

“It is difficult because if you like football, seeing a player like him leave is tough,” Zidane said after Iniesta’s announcement.

“I don’t think of him as a Barcelona player. I see him simply as a football player.

“I’ve come across him two or three times and he is a charming, very reserved man and I like players who can do everything on the field but are that calm off it.

“I only have good words for him, admiration for his football and I wish him the best as a player for the future but above all, as a person.

“We’re talking about someone who made everyone dream and he deserved to win the Ballon d’Or, especially in the year he won the World Cup.

“It was clear then that he deserved it.”

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?