Andres Iniesta said he has fond memories of Louis van Gaal and praised the new Manchester United manager for the faith he showed in young players during his time in charge of Barcelona.
The World Cup winner was in the youth teams during Van Gaal's first spell in charge at the Nou Camp, from 1997 to 2000, and made his debut during the Dutchman's short second stint, in the 2002-03 season.
And he remains an admirer of the current Netherlands manager, who will take up his duties at Old Trafford after his World Cup campaign ends, and believes he will carry on championing emerging players.
He told Barca Fans TV: "He lays down the law to the veterans, so you can imagine when you are just young and have just graduated to the senior squad.
"But the truth is he is someone who I have very special memories of. He is someone who had something very clear - he took risks with young players."
Iniesta was handed his first-team debut in a Champions League group game at Bruges in October 2002, and expressed his gratitude to Van Gaal for the moment that kicked off his professional career.
"It was something very special and I really appreciated what Van Gaal and my teammates did that day," he added. "I remember that there were a lot of us from Barca B as the first team was already qualified. And from there my second life began, in professional football, with the first team."
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand -- who, along with fellow centre-back Nemanja Vidic, left Old Trafford at the end of last season -- believes the club should look at the players already on their books to replace them, rather than sign new players.
Personally the young CB's at @ManUtd deserve a chance to prove themselves...i believe in them all.Time will tell.- Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) July 2, 2014
United midfielder Michael Carrick is eager to play for Van Gaal, telling Sky Sports News: "I'm looking forward to working with him. I'm looking forward to meeting him and getting cracking really."
Van Gaal made his first signing by bringing in Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao for 28.8 million pounds.
And Carrick, who played against Herrera when Bilbao knocked United out of the Europa League in 2011-12, believes he will prove an excellent acquisition.
"I have played against him and he is a terrific player," he added.
"The more quality we have, the better, and he is certainly right up there. So I am sure he is looking forward to getting started and getting the first game under his belt and fitting in. We will certainly make him feel as welcome as we can."