After a degree of uncertainty in recent weeks, it's been confirmed that Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez will not return as the club's manager for the 2024/25 La Liga season.

Earlier this week, Real Madrid and Germany star Toni Kroos likewise announced he'll hang up his boots after this summer’s Euro 24 competition.

Two legends of world football, the CVs of both Kroos and Xavi are indisputable – and both plied their trade as players under the Celtic Park lights in the UEFA Champions League.

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The atmosphere inside Celtic Park during European competition has long been hailed by visiting players all over.

Everyone from Alex Ferguson to Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Andres Iniesta have all spoken in fervent praise of the noise generated from the stands on these special occasions.

Xavi played at Paradise during Celtic's unlikely 2-1 UCL group-stage win over the Catalan giants in November 2012, when goals from Victor Wanyama and an 18-year-old Tony Watt ensured Messi's late strike past Fraser 'La Gran Muralla' Forster was all but a consolation.

After that encounter, the Spaniard said: "The atmosphere generated by the fans in Celtic’s stadium for our visit was the most impressive I’ve ever witnessed."

Kroos, on the other hand, played on the Parkhead pitch when Real Madrid overcame Ange Postecoglou's Celtic 3-0 in September 2022.

That night, Celtic fought hard for 60 minutes, with captain Callum McGregor striking the post at 0-0. Still, the quality among Carlo Ancelotti's side proved too much for the hosts, as goals from Vinicious Junior, Luca Modric and Eden Hazard claimed maximum points for the visitors.

After the full-time whistle, Kroos admitted Celtic Park is as intimidating as away grounds come.

He said: "I was being asked several times which (away) stadium is my favourite. And there is a new number one, I can tell you, Celtic Park. It has been just crazy! We came out, and the atmosphere was good.

"The Champions League anthem started, and I thought the stadium was going to collapse. Unbelievable, I had never experienced anything like that.

"After the game, everyone applauded. Totally Celtic, of course, but nothing hostile or disrespectful. That was very, very, impressive.

"When we lined up for the team picture, I told David Alaba that it feels like we are already 0-2 down. Just insane!"

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