Andres Iniesta has confirmed that he will be leaving Barcelona at the end of this season after 22 years
The veteran midfielder revealed last month that he had received an offer to join an unnamed club in the Chinese Super League and had until the end of this month to make a final decision.
In a press conference to announce his departure, an emotional Iniesta declared that he intends to end his 22-year spell at Barcelona by “feeling useful, feeling important and still winning titles”.
The captain revealed that he has not agreed to join any other club yet, but intends to never play against his beloved boyhood club.
Iniesta was a part of the famous La Masia academy in Catalonia and rose through the youth ranks at Barcelona to become a four-time Champions League winner, as well as claiming eight La Liga titles.
The 33-year-old has also tasted glory on the international scene, where he played a critical part in Spain’s glorious 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 title-winning campaigns.
“I understand that in the near future I will not be able to give the best of myself in all senses, both physically and mentally.” said an emotional Iniesta, as quoted by Sport360.
“If I had imagined finishing my career here, it would have been like this, feeling useful, feeling important and still winning titles.
“It’s a very difficult day for me because I’ve been here all my life and to say goodbye to my home and my life here is very hard.”
At the end of his speech, Iniesta was applauded by the Spanish media and will now likely return his focus onto Barcelona’s La Liga fixture against Deportivo La Coruna with the Spaniard on the verge of sealing his ninth league crown for the Catalan giants.
While not refusing to give too much away on his future, Iniesta did reveal that he intends to continue his playing career outside of Europe.
“There are things to talk about, things to finalise,” revealed Iniesta.
“The only thing I have always said is I would never compete against my club so all scenarios that are not in Europe are possible.“
Iniesta recently scored for Barcelona in their 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla last weekend to seal the Copa del Rey title, in what was his 57th club goal in his 669th appearance