Iniesta, Xavi only Spaniards at Ballon d'Or level – Fabregas

Andres Iniesta's Barcelona career appears to be drawing to a close and former team-mate Cesc Fabregas offered a glowing tribute.

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta   -  Getty Images

Cesc Fabregas paid tribute to Andres Iniesta ahead of his expected Barcelona exit announcement, saying he and former team-mate Xavi are the only Spaniards who could have justifiably won the Ballon d'Or.

After weeks of speculation about his future, Iniesta will hold a news conference on Friday in which he is expected to reveal his imminent departure from the Catalan giants.

Although he signed a new "lifetime" contract in October, Iniesta has long been linked with a move away from Barca and is said to be closing in on a switch to Chongqing Lifan of the Chinese Super League.

While some have criticised such Iniesta's apparent decision to move to a lesser league, Chelsea star Fabregas – who has played alongside the 33-year-old for Barca and Spain – does not think it will tarnish his legacy.

Speaking on COPE's El Partidazo show, Fabregas said: "Whatever he decides, Andres Iniesta was a great football player.

"When we won the World Cup, Iniesta played very well. Along with Xavi, Andres is the only Spaniard who could have won a Ballon d'Or."

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