Andres Iniesta has announced that he is leaving FC Barcelona this summer after 22 years at the club during a press conference at the Nou Camp.
Iniesta, who turns 34 on May 11, said that “this season is the last.”
"It is a difficult day for me to be here saying goodbye when I've spent my whole life here. A great deal of who I am, is down to Barca and La Masia [Barcelona’s youth soccer academy]. I am very thankful to them,” the midfielder said.
Iniesta joined Barcelona’s youth academy when he was 12. He spent his entire career with the club, making 669 appearances in 16 seasons, winning 31 trophies with Barcelona and three major tournaments for Spain.
Iniesta is considered to be one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
— BarçaNation (@FCBNation93) April 27, 2018
Since 2009, he has been chosen in the UEFA Team of the Year six times and has been voted into the FIFA World XI nine times.
— Luc (@DailyRender) April 27, 2018
It was Iniesta who elevated the Furia Roja to glory when powerful Spain clashed with the high-spirited Netherlands in the FIFA 2010 World Cup final, scoring the only and winning goal in extra time while the year before it was the skillful and clever Iniesta who launched Barcelona into their eventually victorious Champions League final with a majestic goal against Chelsea.
— Adam♦️ (@VirgiIite) April 27, 2018
The midfielder won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award in 2012 and was named the IFFHS World's Best Playmaker in 2012 and 2013.
Iniesta was runner-up to Lionel Messi for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or and achieved third place in 2012.
— a (@oatcr7_) April 21, 2018
Many people associate the undefeatable, ball-controlling and attacking style of Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and the rise of Lionel Messi's star with the magic duo of Andres Iniesta and Xavi, who left the team earlier.
— Ali (@RoyMustang786) April 27, 2018
The midfielder is expected to move to Chinese Super League club Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, with their president Gong Daxing recently announcing that they are in negotiations with the midfielder.
Iniesta, however, has not yet said where he will play next season but he did say during the conference, “I said I would never play against Barca so it is not going to be in Europe. We will know at the end of the season — there are still things to talk about.”
— 40 (@ffsEman) April 21, 2018
The football star has won the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 as well as four Champions Leagues and eight La Liga titles with Barcelona.