Spanish La Liga
Barcelona1Real Sociedad0

Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad

Andres Iniesta is thrown into the air by his Barcelona team-mates
Barcelona paid tribute to Andres Iniesta with a long show after the match

Andres Iniesta capped his stellar career at Barcelona with victory over Real Sociedad in his final game.

The Spain midfielder, 34, is leaving the La Liga champions at the end of the season after winning 22 major titles in 16 years with the senior side.

Fans formed a mosaic with the message 'Forever Iniesta' prior to the game.

Iniesta was typically assured in possession but the tired hosts needed a stunning strike by Philippe Coutinho to end their season with a win.

The former Liverpool midfielder cut in from the left and curled a powerful effort in off the far post on 57 minutes.

Iniesta, who captained the side, was replaced in the 82nd minute, embracing all of his team-mates and acknowledging the Nou Camp crowd with tears in his eyes.

After full-time the stadium went dark before a light show during which the Barcelona players emerged wearing Iniesta shirts to form a guard of honour.

The man himself then strode out to raise first the La Liga then the Copa del Rey trophies, the fourth time he has won both in the same season, before addressing the crowd.

"This is a difficult day but I have spent 22 marvellous years here," he said. "It's been a pride and a pleasure to defend and represent this badge, which for me is the best in the world.

"Thanks to all my team-mates, each and every one. I will miss you all so much. And thank you to the fans, for all your love, everything you've made me feel since I arrived here as a boy. I leave as a man. I will keep you in my heart forever."

'Forever Iniesta'

A mosaic message reading 'Forever Iniesta' formed by the Barcelona fans
A mosaic message reading 'Forever Iniesta' was formed by the Barcelona fans before kick-off

Having joined the Barcelona youth set-up aged 12, Iniesta ends his 22-year association with the club after making 674 senior appearances, second only to long-time central midfield partner Xavi who made 767 and was present in the stadium.

He was part of Barca sides that won La Liga nine times, four Champions League titles, three Club World Cups and six Copa del Rey trophies. The last of the league titles came this season as Barcelona almost went the whole campaign unbeaten, only to fall to a 5-4 defeat by Levante in their penultimate game.

The hosts were subdued against a stubborn Real Sociedad, the game itself of secondary importance to bidding farewell to one of their greatest ever players.

Lionel Messi even started on the bench before replacing Coutinho on 67 minutes to enjoy a final cameo alongside Iniesta, the pair having won all 22 of those trophies together.

When granted an emotional send-off in being replaced by Paco Alcacer, Iniesta went straight to Messi, handing over the captain's armband and hugging the Argentina striker.

He could not quite toast his final game with a goal - he came closest in dragging a shot narrowly wide on nine minutes - but showed plenty of his trademark deft touches, slick passes and quick feet throughout.

Iniesta, who has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but not said where he will play next season, now turns his attention to this summer's World Cup in Russia, with Spain's squad for the tournament set to be announced on Monday.

In 129 international appearances to date, he scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final and also won the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

In a weekend of farewells - Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus, Fernando Torres said goodbye to Atletico Madrid, while this match was also Xabi Prieto's last for Real Sociedad - Iniesta had the most ostentatious send-off, the Barcelona squad still gathered on the pitch an hour after the final whistle to watch a fireworks show.

Andres Iniesta leaves the Camp Nou pitch for the final time
Iniesta was substituted in the 82nd minute of his 674th Barcelona game
Andres Iniesta lifts the La Liga trophy
The 2017/18 La Liga title was Iniesta's 32nd trophy with Barcelona

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 2Nélson Semedo
  • 3Piqué
  • 24Mina
  • 18AlbaBooked at 72mins
  • 4RakiticBooked at 75mins
  • 5Busquets
  • 8IniestaSubstituted forAlcácerat 82'minutes
  • 11DembéléSubstituted forD Suárezat 53'minutes
  • 9SuárezBooked at 43mins
  • 14CoutinhoSubstituted forMessiat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6D Suárez
  • 10Messi
  • 13Cillessen
  • 17Alcácer
  • 19Digne
  • 21André Gomes
  • 22Vidal

Real Sociedad

  • 25Moyá
  • 15ElustondoSubstituted forOdriozolaat 71'minutes
  • 3Llorente
  • 22NavasBooked at 42mins
  • 24de la Bella
  • 4Illarramendi
  • 17ZurutuzaSubstituted forPrieto Argarateat 89'minutes
  • 8JanuzajBooked at 53minsSubstituted forCanalesat 63'minutes
  • 7Juanmi
  • 18Oyarzabal
  • 12Da Silva

Substitutes

  • 1Rulli
  • 5Zubeldia
  • 10Prieto Argarate
  • 14Pardo
  • 16Canales
  • 19Odriozola
  • 21Bautista
Referee:
José Luis Munuera Montero
Attendance:
82,444

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamReal Sociedad
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home12
Away13
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away8
Fouls
Home13
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 1, Real Sociedad 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 1, Real Sociedad 0.

Foul by Yerry Mina (Barcelona).

Xabi Prieto (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gerard Piqué (Barcelona).

Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Raúl Navas (Real Sociedad) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Real Sociedad. Xabi Prieto replaces David Zurutuza.

Foul by Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

David Zurutuza (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Paco Alcácer (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic with a through ball.

Offside, Barcelona. Sergio Busquets tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sergio Canales (Real Sociedad).

Foul by Denis Suárez (Barcelona).

David Zurutuza (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Juanmi (Real Sociedad) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sergio Canales.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Paco Alcácer replaces Andrés Iniesta.

Attempt missed. Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sergio Canales following a corner.

Attempt missed. Juanmi (Real Sociedad) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Real Sociedad. Conceded by Nélson Semedo.

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad).

Corner, Real Sociedad. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

Foul by Lionel Messi (Barcelona).

Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Booking

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

Diego Llorente (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Raúl Navas (Real Sociedad) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Sergio Canales with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Real Sociedad. Conceded by Yerry Mina.

Booking

Jordi Alba (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Jordi Alba (Barcelona).

Sergio Canales (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Real Sociedad. Álvaro Odriozola replaces Aritz Elustondo.

Foul by Nélson Semedo (Barcelona).

Asier Illarramendi (Real Sociedad) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Denis Suárez (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt saved. Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Denis Suárez with a cross.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 20th May 2018

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona38289199297093
2Atl Madrid382310558223679
3Real Madrid382210694445076
4Valencia38227965382773
5Villarreal38187135750761
6Real Betis38186146061-160
7Sevilla38177144958-958
8Getafe381510134233955
9Eibar38149154450-651
10Girona38149155059-951
11Espanyol381213133642-649
12Real Sociedad38147176659749
13Celta Vigo381310155960-149
14Alavés38152214050-1047
15Levante381113144458-1446
16Ath Bilbao381013154149-843
17Leganés38127193451-1743
18Dep La Coruña38611213876-3829
19Las Palmas3857262474-5022
20Malaga3855282461-3720
View full Spanish La Liga table

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