Andres Iniesta to leave Barcelona at the end of the season

By StanLee

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has confirmed that he will leave club at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old held a special press conference to announce his exit from Camp Nou, having won 31 major trophies during his time at the club.

“This is my last season at Barcelona.” said Iniesta, in tears.

“This was a decision which took a lot of thought. Barcelona are the best club in the world and they have given me everything.

“This club deserves the best version of me and in the near future I will not be able to give that.

“It is best for me to leave this club feeling important, still winning titles.

“It is very difficult for me to say these words but I am so thankful to everyone at Barca and La Masia who made me who I am.

“I will always carry Barcelona in my heart. I want to thank everyone who has been with me in the bad times and the good.”

Iniesta joined Barcelona as a 12-year-old in 1996, working his way through La Masia before breaking into the first team in 2002-03.

By his third season with the senior side, he was an integral part of the Barcelona midfield, helping lift his first La Liga title in 2004-05, and then completed the league and Champions League double the following season.

Iniesta is on track to win his ninth La Liga title this year as Barcelona currently hold an 11 point lead over Atletico Madrid and are 15 ahead of Real Madrid with just five games remaining.

He lifted a sixth Copa del Rey title in April, receiving a standing ovation as he was substituted in what proved to be an emotional farewell ahead of the official confirmation of his exit.

Since then, he has received praise from former team-mates, opponents and football dignitaries, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu hailing him as Barcelona’s most important player of the last decade.

It was widely reported before that his next stop will be Chinese Super League.