Andres Iniesta to leave Barcelona after 22 years

Andres Iniesta

If I couldn't contribute everything I was capable, then it was time to say goodbye. "[My next move] will be finalised when the season ends".

Iniesta, a World Cup victor with Spain, won eight La Liga titles, with a ninth set to be secured in the coming weeks, alongside four Champions League wins and six Copa del Rey crowns. The rest, as they say, is history, as Iniesta broke into the senior team in 2002, making just 9 and 17 appearances respectively across all competitions in his first two seasons with the senior team. "This is the best club in the world", he said.

"There are still things to work out, different things".

"I said I was never going to play against Barcelona, so it will not be in Europe".

Interest from the Chinese Super League and the Major League Soccer has intensified in recent weeks as speculation mounted on the diminutive midfielder's future and he is likely to end up either in China or America.

But both Messi and Luis Suarez were notably absent due to "personal reasons".

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Andres Iniesta means so much more to Barcelona than the 30-plus titles he helped add to its trophy case.

"As well as the amount of titles he won, it was the way he played that is an example of how you have to be as a professional on and off the pitch".

Despite all of that, Iniesta has never stolen the limelight at Barca. The team leads Atletico Madrid by 11 points with five games left.

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Iniesta is still playing regularly for the La Liga outfit.

Now in charge at Manchester City, Guardiola said: "I want to say thank you".

Wearing Barcelona's burgundy-and-blue, Iniesta scored in a 5-0 victory over Sevilla to claim a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey last weekend.

"From 2004 until now, [Iniesta] has been the most important player we have had because he has been in every coach's project since [Frank] Rijkaard", Bartomeu told El Larguero.

Lopetegui said: "He is a player who first of all is still at the top of his game".

During that period, Iniesta became the poster-boy for fluid, possession-based football, for which this decade of Spanish dominance will be forever remembered.

Meanwhile, Iniesta has played 125 times for Spain, winning the 2008 and 2012 European Championships and, of course, the 2010 World Cup. They regularly applauded him when he was substituted. He also thanked the fans, who had seen him "grow since I was 12 years old and have supported me in good and bad times".

The Spain global will end his career with another league title.

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