Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta confirms plan to leave at end of season

andres iniesta applauding the crowd

Andres Iniesta applauds to the fans after exiting Barcelona’s Copa del Rey win against Sevilla. AP Images

“After 22 years here, I know what it means to be a player for the best team in the world. I know the responsibility I have as the captain and the responsibility to be honest with myself and the club by bringing my time at the club to an end this season.

“If I’d imagined my how my career would end here, this is it. I leave feeling useful, feeling important, starting games and winning titles. It’s a difficult day for me. I’ve spent my whole life here.

“It’s very difficult for me. My whole career has been here and to say goodbye to what has become my home is complicated. But this is life. All the time it’s more difficult [to maintain the same level]. I wouldn’t forgive myself for living in an uncomfortable situation at the club. I don’t deserve that and the club don’t deserve it, either. That’s my decision. I wanted to make it public.”

Iniesta has been linked with moves to Major League Soccer int he United States and the Chinese Super League. When asked about his next move, he replied: “The season has still not finished… There are still things to be sorted, to be talked about.

“I have said I will never play against Barca, so I won’t play in Europe. All options outside of Europe could be possible. At the end of the season you will know where.”

Iniesta will end his 22-year-old association with the club after winning eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues as an integral part of the club’s most successful era.

The 33-year-old also won a sixth Copa del Rey final earlier this season, and he is on the verge of adding a ninth La Liga winner’s medal to cap off a glittering club career.

For many years Iniesta formed a domineering midfield partnership for Barcelona and Spain with Xavi Hernandez and the pair were among the three finalists for the 2010 Ballon d’Or, which was won by teammate Lionel Messi.

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