Cesc Fabregas has recalled a heartwarming story of the day he met Lionel Messi for the first time at Barcelona.
The club confirmed on Thursday night that the Argentine would be leaving Camp Nou after 21 years, tributes have been pouring in for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, who is currently contemplating his next move.
Former Barca team-mate, Fabregas, took to social media to pay his tribute to Messi, and revealed how the 34-year-old "left me on the floor" when they were kids in La Masia.
"You sat down and never said a word. The coach told me to go in strong in a one-on-one exercise against you, you looked so small that I thought I'd take the ball off you in a second. Silly me, you left me on the floor and from there I knew you were something special."
He added: "My dream had always been to play in the Barca first team, but to do that with you and with Geri [Gerard Pique], that always made that dream a lot more special. In the end it came true and just for the fact that I felt like I did playing at false 9 alongside you and seeing the connection we had, that made it all worth it. You leave as the best player of all time. Barca will never be the same without you.
"Thank you for everything you have given and everything that you are, because behind that competitive animal there is a spectacular, humble, kind and generous person. I wish you, Anto, Thiagui, Matu and Ciro all the best. I am sure you will be happy wherever you go. I love you."