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There were two minutes to go in the final, his final, when Andrés Iniesta began the long walk goodbye.Slowly, swallowing hard, eyes red, he made his way across the pitch, team-mates coming to embrace him as he went, and all around the Metropolitano supporters got to their feet, applauding. They stood in the Barcelona end and they stood in the Sevilla end too. Iniesta’s name rolled around, accompanying him until he ducked out of sight, taking a seat on the bench. He sat there for a little while, tears forcing their way through, and then he got up again and went to collect the Copa del Rey, alone.
It was the 34th title of his career and a 35th will follow, but it was this one that felt like it marked the end: the last waltz. As he climbed up to collect the trophy, down on the grass Barcelona’s players waited for him, Cody Zeller Jersey much as they had waited for him when, 51 minutes into his 670th game for Barcelona, he scored the fourth goal, ensuring that this would always be his night: the Iniesta Final.
Collecting Lionel Messi’s pass, with a gentle shift of the hips, just a hint of a pause, he stepped past David Soria and rolled the ball in. He jumped into the air and at some point in that leap, sadness crept into the celebration, nostalgia flooding the stadium. They knew what this meant.
Any doubt disappeared when they saw the Barcelona’s players’ reaction, more eloquent than anything they could have said. “There were a lot of emotions in that goal,” Iniesta http://www.authenticnikeseahawkshop.com/patrick-kerney-jersey-for-sale-c-3.html admitted afterwards. “Lots of emotions, lots of feelings, lots of years. I really wanted this final to go well and I’m happy.” The normal huddle broke up and then, almost one by one, they waited for Iniesta, a moment each. Eyes closed, Messi held him in an embrace that may become the image of the final, maybe even a generation; he held on just that little bit longer, like http://www.billsfootballofficialprostore.com/Authentic-Patrick-Dimarco-Jersey he didn’t want to let go.
There was something in that. In good times and bad Messi looks for Iniesta, and in bad times above all. It is in those moments when he seeks security, assurance, that he most wants the Spaniard at his side. “I know how difficult it http://www.saintsofficialfootballstore.com/Sheldon-Rankins-Jersey.html is to do what he does,” Messi says in Iniesta’s book, The Artist.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Andrés Iniesta celebrates after scoring for Barcelona in the Copa Del rey final. Photograph: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA
It is a simple solution, successful for well over a decade and expressed on Saturday night, like a portrait of their era, Barcelona producing a performance that may have been as good as any since Wembley 2011. And yet time waits for no man, not even the man who sometimes seemed able to control it. You can slow the clock, but not stop it and when Messi looks for Iniesta next season, he will no longer be there; he’ll be 5,000 miles away. 22 years after arriving, 18 after meeting Messi, 16 since his debut, Iniesta is leaving Barcelona; he’s leaving Spain too, for China. Richard Panik Youth jersey An announcement is expected this week.
At 33, a starter in 24 D.J. Humphries Youth jersey of 33 league games and eight of 10 in the Champions League, on course to win a league and cup double, it may have come too soon. That, certainly, was the conclusion drawn after Saturday night. China looks incongruous. The headline on the front of AS on Sunday morning said it all: “Iniesta, don’t go!” But the appeals for him to stay, while they express that hope that he might yet change his mind, will also reinforce his belief that this is the right time to go. The right way, too: remember me like this. cheap jerseyswholesale nfl jerseys from chinacheap jerseyscheap jerseys from china