Emotional night for Pep and Barca
Lionel Messi scored all four goals in Barcelona's 4-0 win over Espanyol as Pep Guardiola paid an emotional farewell to the Nou Camp.
Messi scored his 50th La Liga goal of the season on Saturday night, but the magical Argentinian was nevertheless overshadowed at the final whistle as Guardiola said goodbye.
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, the Nou Camp 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."
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell expressed his delight that Guardiola was able to "leave through the front door", adding that the former Spain international was always welcome back at the club where he won two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles.
"The Camp Nou clamoured for Guardiola. Pep, we love you. We can't say anything else. It was fantastic," Rosell said.
"We're in an era where Barca have learned to win and lose, where we also pay homage to our heroes.
"It's important that our heroes can leave through the front door. We've matured as a club and as supporters.
"He'll come back through the front door. Everyone loves Pep and we all want him to return.
"In these moments, I'm proud to be FC Barcelona's president."
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