Lionel Messi pays tribute to Manu Ginobili after he announces his retirement

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

The tributes for Manu Ginobili have been flooding in this week after he announced his retirement from the San Antonio Spurs and the NBA.

Ginobili brought his time in the league to an end earlier this week after 16 seasons. In his retiring statement, he thanked his family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, and the fans for their support.

The Spurs icon ends his NBA career as one of the most decorated international players in basketball history after being a four-time NBA champion, a two-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist for Argentina.

Being such an icon for Argentina in the basketball world, it comes as no surprise that Argentina's own Lionel Messi has shown his support for his fellow countryman.

On his Facebook account, the Barcelona footballer expressed his gratitude to Manu, stating how basketball will not be the same without him.

"Thank you Manu Ginobili, for making us enjoy basketball so much. It's not going to be the same without you on the court, all the luck in the world for your new chapter."

This isn't the first time that the footballer has spoken about Ginobili.

Back in 2013, according to MARCA, Messi wrote the prologue for the basketballer's 'The Lord of Talents' biography, which was put together by Argentine journalist Julian Mozo.

Back then, he showed his appreciation for the Spurs icon's support, stating that he was 'the Manu of football'.

Messi said: "I know that several NBA players wear the No. 10 shirt in my honour and that is something very special, as well as hearing praise from superstars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant.

Lionel Messi believes he is the Manu of football

"But none of them struck me as much as Manu's, when he came out to support me after the 2011 Copa America in Argentina.

"That someone like him, a sportsman of his level and commitment, has supported me in that way means a lot".

"It makes me very proud to hear a journalist say that Manu is the Messi of basketball, in fact they should say that I am the Manu of football."

Ginobili made an enormous impact on the NBA and the world during his playing career as evident by the immeasurable amount of gratitude shown by so many people.

Manu played 1,057 regular season contests and 218 playoff games with the Spurs, and he ranks in the team's top five all-time in games, points (14,043), assists (4,001) and steals (1,392).

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