Messi succeeds Iniesta, named new FC Barcelona captain

Messi succeeds Iniesta, named new FC Barcelona captain

Lionel Messi has succeeded Andres Iniesta as captain of Barcelona, after the Spaniard ended his 22-year stay at the club to join Japanese side Vissel Kobe in May.

Gerard Pique is next in line as third choice while Sergi Roberto is the last of the group, taking the place of Javier Mascherano, who signed for Hebei China Fortune in January.

The Argentina global takes over from Iniesta following his move to Vissel Kobe in the J League at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

Messi was named Barcelona's second captain in 2015 and, having also skippered Argentina, was the obvious choice to take over from Iniesta.

Midfielder Sergio Busquets was named first vice-captain, followed by Pique, who has been at Barcelona since 2008.

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Messi returns to club football in Spain after scoring just once in Argentina's chaotic and disappointing World Cup campaign in Russian Federation.

Roberto takes over as the fourth captain, filling the gap left by Messi's global team-mate Javier Mascherano following his move to Hebei China Fortune in January.

Roberto's elevation is in spite of his only being a first team regular for three seasons.

It is the first time since the 2014-15 season that all the club's four captains have come through the club's famous La Masia youth academy.

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