Barcelona have high hopes that Denis Suarez will fill Andres Iniesta’s boots when the mercurial midfielder, 32, eventually moves on.
Iniesta is still recovering from a knee injury, his absence in the Barcelona team giving opportunities to the likes of Suarez.
And if Suarez’s performance in Sunday’s 2-1 win at Sevilla is anything to go by, Barcelona might not miss Iniesta as much as they thought they would.
The 22-year-old, who rejoined the Spanish champions in the summer, completed 88.9 per cent of his passes and was noticeably impressive defensively, making four tackles and three interceptions.
The highlight for Suarez, though, will surely have been the WhatsApp message he received from Iniesta after the game.
Speaking to Cadena Ser, the former Villarreal man revealed Iniesta offered his congratulations.
“At the end of the match against Sevilla he sent a WhatsApp to congratulate me. Suarez said, via Sport. “It made me really happy.
“He said I had played very well and with a lot of personality. I replied that his message had made me very happy.”
How cute. It’s clear that Iniesta sees Suarez as his heir apparent.
Iniesta is Suarez's role model
Suarez, who signed for Manchester City as a 17-year-old before joining Barcelona, continued by expressing his desire to emulate Iniesta’s achievements at the Camp Nou.
“I want to earn a spot and be here many years ,” he added. “I strive to be a starter. I know just arrived and I have to be patient but I try to take my chances.
“I’m happy with my participation. The club do not give away anything. I always wants to play more but I have teammates at the maximum level - Iniesta is the best in the world in my place. I hope someday I can become like him.”
Good luck with that, Denis. Iniesta has only won eight La Liga titles, the Champions League four times, scored the winning goal in a World Cup final and won the European Championship twice.
There are certainly worse role models.
Luis Enrique reserved special praise for the young midfielder after Sunday’s result.
"I would like to emphasise Denis Suarez's match in particular," said the Barcelona manager, via Marca.
"He is always ready and willing, despite only featuring for a few minutes here and there. This is this the kind of attitude we want from all of our players and I hope he carries on like that.
"He is a great example of professionalism."
Will Denis Suarez take Andres Iniesta's place in the Barcelona XI one day? Let us know in the comments section below!
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