A day after Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez announced that he would bid adieu to football at the end of the 2018-19 international season, star striker Lionel Messi has paid tributes to his former team-mate with a heartfelt message.
Taking to his official Instagram account, the 31-year-old Argentina star said that Xavi had helped him a lot both on and off the field and that it was a pleasure sharing a dressing room with him.
“It was a pleasure to share a dressing room with you, Xavi. We experienced a lot of moments together over many years, The truth is I’ve missed you since the day you decided to leave due to how you helped me on and off the pitch," he wrote.
“You know that I wish you the best in the next stage of your life that begins now. I’m sure you will continue to be successful in everything you do in the football world. A strong hug!" Messi added.
On Friday, Hernandez had announced that he would call curtains to his illustrious 21-year-long football career at the end of the ongoing season.
The 39-year-old Spanish star, who is currently playing for Al-Sadd in Qatar, had confirmed the news in an open letter while adding that he would focus on his career as a coach after retirement.
Xavi, who joined Barcelona's senior side during the 1998-99 season, holds the all-time appearances record at the Camp Nou club with a total of 767 caps.
During his illustrious career with Barcelona, Xavi netted 85 goals from 1998 to 2015 besides also guiding the club to eight La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey victories, four UEFA Champions League titles and two FIFA Club World Cup glories.
Xavi had also bagged six silverware for Barcelona at Spanish Super Cup and two at UEFA Super Cup.
The Al Sadd SC midfielder, who was capped 113 times for Spain before eventually retiring from the national team in 2014, also played a crucial role in guiding the country to 2010 World Cup glory besides also being a part of the Spanish team that clinched titles at both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.