Messi succeeds Iniesta as new Barcelona captain

Messi succeeds Iniesta as new Barcelona captain

Barcelona (Agencies): Barcelona have confirmed that Lionel Messi will replace Andres Iniesta as the club’s captain for the new season.

Iniesta had been the club captain since 2015, when Xavi Hernandez left for Qatar, but he moved to Japanese side Vissel Kobe earlier this summer.

Messi, 31, has previously led Barca in Iniesta’s absence but will now begin the campaign as the club’s outright captain. The forward, Barca’s all-time record goalscorer with 552 in all competitions, already wears the armband for the Argentina.

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

It’s the first time centre-back Pique, who returned to the club from Manchester United in 2008, has held one of the roles. Sergi Roberto captained an inexperienced Barca squad during the club’s recent tour of the United States.

The midfielder, who is now 26, has been at the club since 2006 and has made over 200 first team appearances since making his debut in 2010 under Pep Guardiola.

All four of the captains chosen came through the club’s La Masia youth academy and only Pique — who had spells with United and on loan at Real Zaragoza — has played senior football away from Camp Nou.

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