Barcelona, Oct 6 (IANS) Veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta on Friday signed a lifetime contract with Catalan football giants FC Barcelona, ending the speculation that surrounded his future with the club he joined when he was 12 years old.
“This is a very special day for me, simply because it means I’m staying at my home, where I can continue to dream of achieving great things for this club. It’s where I have grown and developed,” Iniesta said at a press conference after signing the contract.
“It makes me very happy to know that the club has given me this opportunity. I have always been convinced of my love for Barçelona and I know that I could never be anywhere better then here,” he added.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, for his part, said “the club has grown through this agreement because after 118 years of history it’s the first time we have ever offered a footballer a lifelong contract. This is a reward for Andrés’ exceptional career.”
Iniesta said the doubts he had regarding his future during former Barcelona’s coach Luis Enrique vanished after Ernesto Valverde took the helm, despite not talking about the contract directly.
From now on, Iniesta and Barcelona will decide jointly after every season whether he would continue with the club.
The 33-year-old Iniesta said he did not know the role he would take at Barcelona after hanging out his boots, but it would not be far away from the field.
Iniesta has played for Barcelona in more than 600 matches, having won four Champions League titles and eight La Liga titles.
He was also a member of Spain’s squads which won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
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