Emotional Guardiola says goodbye

Lionel Messi scored his 50th La Liga goal of the season as Barcelona swept aside Espanyol 4-0 - but the magical Argentinian was nevertheless overshadowed at the final whistle as Pep Guardiola paid an emotional farewell to Camp Nou.


In Guardiola's final home game before standing down to make way for his assistant Tito Vilanova, he received a four-goal parting gift from arguably the most influential player of his reign as Messi moved on to 72 goals for the season.

Before the match, Camp Nou paid tribute to Guardiola's four-year, 13-trophy reign with a video montage and the unfurling of an enormous banner emblazoned with the words "T'estimem Pep" - "We love you Pep".

And after the match it was the turn of Guardiola to dole out the plaudits as he addressed the thousands of fans who had stayed long after the final whistle.

"Life has given me this present," he said. "For five years I have been able to have you close to me and enjoy the great show that these boys have given us.

"I've been no different than you - I've been equally privileged. A little closer to the pitch maybe, but I'll take this privilege with me. You can't imagine the happiness and pleasure I'll take with me.

"Thank you to absolutely everybody, especially those who have been closest to me, because every day we have been working hard so that you can enjoy watching us play.

"And thank you also to you in the crowd, who maybe haven't been so close, but who have really made us feel your support. You should know that I will miss you.

"I'm the person who is losing most, but I am leaving you in the best possible hands - particularly of this group of players."

He added of his decision to leave: "The pressure was strong and I needed to ease it a bit, but you don't need to do that - stay with us, because this still has a long way to go. I wish you all the best of luck - I'll see you soon and you will never lose me.".

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