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VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

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It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

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Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.

Barcelona jets in for a day to beat South African champs

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes scored as Barcelona beat South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on Wednesday in a friendly marking 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela.

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Lionel Messi didn’t start the game at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg but drew a roar from the crowd as big as any other on the night when he got up off the bench and started to warm up 20 minutes into the second half. He came on for the last 15 minutes. Andres Iniesta did start in his return to the stadium where he won the World Cup for Spain in 2010.

Dembele, Suarez and Gomes all took advantage of defensive errors, with Dembele curling a left-foot shot into net in the third minute and Suarez doubling the lead in the 18th minute. Gomes added the third in the 66th.

Sibusiso Vilakazi scored Sundowns’ goal late on but the Spanish champions were in cruise control against the South African league winner. Barcelona returns home to play its last game of the Spanish season on Sunday against Real Sociedad, Iniesta’s farewell match after 22 years at Barcelona.

Messi: It would be ‘terrible’ to see Neymar at Real Madrid

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Barcelona star Lionel Messi says it would be “terrible” to see his friend and former teammate Neymar signing for Real Madrid.

Messi told TyC Sports on Tuesday that “it would be terrible, for all that Ney means to Barcelona.”

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He added that “it is OK that he went the way he did, he won an important title here, he won the Champions League, won the Spanish league. But to end in Real Madrid would be a hard blow for us and for Barcelona fans.”

Neymar, who is recovering from a foot surgery after an injury in February, left Barcelona last summer after Paris Saint-Germain paid a record transfer fee of 222 million euros. But he has been linked with a move to Madrid this summer after just one year in France.

Barcelona comeback, unbeaten season fall short in 9-goal thriller

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona lost 5-4 in a wild game at Levante on Sunday, ruining the champion’s bid to become the first team to finish a Spanish league season without a loss under its current format.

Barcelona was playing without Lionel Messi, left out of the squad by Ernesto Valverde to rest ahead of a demanding summer for the Argentina forward at the World Cup.

Led by Emmanuel Boateng’s hat trick and two more goals from Enis Bardhi, Levante was heading toward a historic rout of the recently crowned champions when the hosts built a 5-1 lead after 56 minutes.

But Barcelona roared back, with Philippe Coutinho adding two more goals to his first-half strike to complete a hat trick before Luis Suarez converted a penalty to cut the deficit to 5-4 in the 71st.

Suarez headed high from close range in Barcelona’s last chance to snatch the draw.

The upset at the hands of a modest Levante side – fighting to stay out of the relegation zone most of the season – ended Barcelona’s bid to go all 38 rounds of a La Liga season undefeated.

Two teams pulled off the feat in the 1930s when the competition only had 10 teams compared to 20 now.

Report: Neymar told teammates he won’t return to PSG next season

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Neymar’s future at Paris Saint-Germain has seemed in doubt for some time, which in theory seems odd given the fact that the Brazilian has been in the French capital for less than 10 months.

Rumors of another massive move have loomed for months, particularly after PSG crashed out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16 to Real Madrid — which just so happened to be when Neymar went down with an injury.

Despite having recently returned to training with the incumbent Ligue 1 champions and posting to social media on Saturday in next season’s PSG kit, a return to the Parc des Princes in 2018/19 seems to be more and more unlikely for Neymar.

Spanish outlet AS has reported that Neymar already informed his PSG teammates that he won’t return to the club after this summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Neymar hasn’t played a match since going down with an ankle and foot injury in February, which required surgery for the superstar attacker.

Some have suggested that Neymar will suit up in next week’s Ligue 1 finale against Caen, although with the Brazilian having been sidelined for so long it is quite possible that the club won’t want to take any risks on the player’s health.

Real Madrid has long been considered the favorite to sign Neymar, in the event that he does depart the club, however, a return to Barcelona could very much be in the cards.

In theory, it would be quite crowded up front for the Blaugrana, who currently boast Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, but it would surely be difficult to turn down another quality addition in the attacking third.

Any club that pursues the Brazilian would have to open up its check book though, and likely set a new world-record transfer fee for the player that commanded over $265 million last summer in his move from the Camp Nou.