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27th Apr 2018

Andres Iniesta’s first club shares picture of him as a youngster as he confirms Barca exit

Simon Lloyd

It’s confirmed.

Andres Iniesta, just as we all suspected, will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

Now 33, the midfielder has made 669 appearances for the Spanish club across 16 different seasons and is now widely expected to make a move to China in the summer.

Iniesta announced his imminent departure in an emotional press conference on Friday. Although he didn’t confirm his next destination, he did make clear his next club would not be in Europe – ruling out rumours that Pep Guardiola was attempting to persuade him to join Manchester City.

“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 joined Barcelona as a 12-year-old, progressing through the club’s youth ranks to become a mainstay of some of its most successful sides ever. Prior to that, he started out his footballing career as a youngster at Albacete Balompié, close to his birthplace of Fuentealbilla.

Iniesta has since become a shareholder at the club, who responded to news of his departure from the Camp Nou by posting an old registration document from his time as one of their youth players. Dated November 1993, Iniesta would have been just nine years of age at the time.

‘Andrés, you knew it in Barcelona and you will always know it wherever you go, here you always have your card,’ the message in the tweet reads.

Iniesta has won 31 different trophies with Barcelona, including four Champions League titles. He’s also enjoyed enormous success with the Spanish national team – famously scoring the winning foal in the 2010 World Cup final.