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Guardiola bids fans adeu

Pep Guardiola paid an emotional farewell to the Camp Nou as Barcelona claimed a 4-0 derby victory over Espanyol.

• La Liga round-up

Lionel Messi was the hero on the field, netting all four goals to take his league tally to 50 for the season, but the focus post-match was on Guardiola as he took charge of his final home game before handing the reins to assistant Tito Vilanova.

A banner had been unfurled ahead of the kick-off reading " T'estimem Pep" ("We love you Pep"), and a video montage was shown depicting his 13-trophy reign. After the match, Guardiola paid tribute to the fans.

"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."

On his decision to leave, Guardiola added: "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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