Messi named Barcelona captain
Lionel Messi has been confirmed as the new Barcelona captain, replacing departed club icon Andres Iniesta in the role.
Iniesta ended a career-long association with the Catalan giants at the end of the 2017-18 season, joining Japanese side Vissel Kobe.
The Spain midfielder appeared to symbolically hand over the captain's armband to Messi towards the end of his final Clasico appearance against Real Madrid in May.
And Barcelona announced on Friday that Messi will be the first of four captains for the new campaign, along with Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto.
Messi was named Barcelona's second captain in 2015 and, having also skippered Argentina, was the obvious choice to take over from Iniesta.
Pique will also be making his first appearance on this list after spending nearly 10 years at the club.
Roberto takes over as the fourth captain, filling the gap left by Messi's international teammate Javier Mascherano following his move to Hebei China Fortune in January.
The appointment of the new quartet means all four Barcelona captains are products of the famed La Masia academy for the first time since the 2014-15 season, when Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Busquets made up the foursome.
Messi's elevation to captain comes 14 years after he made his senior debut for the club, as a 17-year-old in 2004.
And 637 appearances later he has become one of the most iconic players in their history with 552 goals, nine La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.
Messi will wear the armband for the first time when Barca face Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday.
Unlike at Real Madrid -- where the longest-serving player is awarded the armband -- the process at Barcelona is not based on seniority alonge. All the players also have a say in picking the new captain.