Barca names new captain following Iniesta departure

Barca names new captain following Iniesta departure

FC Barcelona on Friday named Argentina's Lionel Messi the club's captain, following the departure of long-serving midfielder Andres Iniesta.

Iniesta paid a heartfelt farwell to the Nou Camp this summer, moving to Japanese side Vissel Kobe and leaving the captain's armband up for grabs.

The Spain midfield maestro appeared to have symbolically handed over the captain's armband to Messi towards the end of his final Clasico appearance against Real Madrid in May.

The third and fourth captain vacancies, which have opened up due to Iniesta and Javier Mascherano's exits, will be filled by Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto.

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Messi has skippered the Blaugrana on numerous occasions before having been the official vice-captain since 2015, but will now lead the Liga champions out on a permanent basis.

Roberto is the last graduate from La Masia to truly make a name for himself in the senior team, although the fact he has been promoted into the leadership structure ahead of Ivan Rakitic, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba has come as a surprise.

The appointment of the new quartet means all four Barcelona captains are products of the famed La Masia academy for the first time since the 2014-15 season, when Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Busquets made up the foursome.

Sergio Busquets, meanwhile, will become the club's second captain, a role previously held by Messi.

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