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Iniesta to leave Barcelona

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta will leave the Spanish soccer club at the end of the season. In a press conference attended by members of the first team and the club’s board yesterday, Iniesta said he wanted to finish at Barca “feeling useful, feeling important and still winning titles”.

Andres Iniesta

The midfielder (33) has made 669 appearances in 16 seasons, winning 31 trophies with Barca and three major tournaments for Spain.

Iniesta, who has been linked to a move to the Chinese Super League, has not said where he will play next season. “I said I would never play against Barca so it is not going to be in Europe,” he said.
“We will know at the end of the season – there are still things to talk about.”

Iniesta has won the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 as well as four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga titles – soon set to be nine – with Barcelona.

“It is a difficult day for me to be here saying goodbye when I’ve spent my whole life here,” he said in an emotional news conference watched by his family, team-mates and manager Ernesto Valverde.

Fighting back tears, he added: “A great deal of who I am, is down to Barca and La Masia – I am very thankful to them. I spoke to a lot of people – players, coaches and I know what they want, but I tried to be honest with myself and the club.”

Iniesta has been an integral part of the Barca team this season, scoring in the 5-0 Copa del Rey final win over Sevilla. They have five games left this season and will wrap up the title if they avoid defeat by Deportivo la Coruna tomorrow.

He has spent his entire career with Barcelona and has made the second most appearances in the club’s history – behind Xavi, his midfield partner of over a decade before his 2015 move to Al Sadd in Qatar. The Herald