FC Barcelona’s departing captain Andres Iniesta has been hailed as a “real football man” by Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
This was after the Spain international announced at a press conference on Friday he was leaving the La Liga club after 16 years at the heart of the team’s midfield.
“It’s difficult for me and for anyone who likes football. I don’t see him as an FC Barcelona player, but a football man,” Zidane told a news conference on Friday.
“He is charming, very reserved and I like people like that. I don’t know him well but I only have good words for him and I wish him all the best as a player and as a person.”
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said Iniesta was still one of the best players around and added that not many footballers receive the adoration the Barca veteran does.
The midfielder was given a standing ovation by both sets of supporters in last week’s King’s Cup final against Sevilla, in which he delivered a virtuoso display and scored in Barca’s 5-0 win.
“He is a player who first of all is still at the top of his game. He has been a regular starter for us in every game and I don’t speak about him in the past but in the present,” Lopetegui told reporters.
“Obviously the path that he has had and the recognition he has received on an international level is no coincidence, he has earned it for everything he has achieved and for his personality.”