Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez admitted that departing captain Andres Iniesta will leave a big void both on and off the field at Camp Nou.
Spanish great Iniesta is poised to join Vissel Kobe in Japan after 16 seasons with boyhood club Barcelona.
The 34-year-old won nine LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns among others during his illustrious career in Barcelona.
And as Iniesta prepares to take the J.League by storm, Suarez believes the veteran is irreplaceable.
"[I have learnt] lots of things. He is a player that also is in my position and I focused on him in each training session, what he does in games so as to improve." Suarez said via Marca. "I think it will be practically impossible to replace him with another player, but it is what we face.
"It will be a big gap to be filled in football, personal and human terms with the departure of our captain.
"He will be remembered as a legend. On a football level it is a big vacuum because he was here for a lot of years and leaves an important legacy. In the dressing room he is our captain and while someone will take his place, we wish him all the best because he deserves it."
Suarez, who returned to Barca from Villareal in 2016, is looking for more game time under Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde.
The 22-year-old mainly featured as a substitute this season but he is realistic about his position at the club.
"Clearly I expected to play more and I am not happy with this as you always want more," Suarez said. "I have had periods where I have played more and others when I was less involved, but I prefer to remember the positives of the final month when I had more minutes on the pitch."
Suarez also reflected on another good season for Barcelona as they recorded the double – winning LaLiga and the Copa del Rey – but added there was one major blemish.
"Clearly the Champions League upset [against Roma in the quarter-finals] has marked the season a little because at Barcelona when you a lose a game, it is as though everything has gone wrong and we lost in the worst kind of way," he said. "Hopefully next year we can win the double again and add the Champions League."
24. Juni 2018
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