Andres Iniesta has revealed his deadline to decide if he will remain at Barcelona beyond this summer or accept an offer to move to China.
The 34-year-old has been at the Catalan club throughout his career and even signed a contract for life earlier this season. But the new deal stipulates that he can decide to leave at the end of each campaign if he feels it’s time for a change.
The midfielder has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season and remains an important part of Ernesto Valverde’s side. However, Iniesta could seek a new challenge in the Far East following the conclusion of the current campaign.
The attacking midfielder played 56 minutes as Barcelona booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the 11th consecutive season with a 3-0 win over Chelsea on Wednesday. He later confirmed that he is considering an offer from the Chinese Super League, but will wait until April 30 to reveal his decision.
“It’s a decision which you [the press] will find out after the club,” Iniesta told reporters after the win Wednesday, as quoted on ESPN. “I will decide before April 30. It will be the most honest decision for me and for the club. There are still a few weeks left. There are two options: stay at Barcelona or go to China. Nothing has changed from what I said when I renewed my contract,” the Spain international added.
Valverde also refused to get embroiled in talks about the midfielder’s future and made it clear that he has not yet envisaged a future without Iniesta, who at the moment is Barcelona’s longest serving player. The Catalan club’s manager has used the Spanish midfielder frequently this season and is likely to continue to do so as Barcelona chase the treble.
The Camp Nou outfit are favorites to win the La Liga title — they are eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid in second with 10 games to play, while they are also in the final of the Copa del Rey, where they will face Sevilla. Barcelona’s progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League will put them amongst the other favorites Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to win the title.
“I don’t know what he will do, it’s a very personal decision,” Valverde said. “He has to decide himself. He will have his reasons and he will decide what’s best for him and the club. But right now he’s with us and we are not planning for anything other than having him here and living in the present, which means finishing the season well.”
“So, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I am not thinking about a Barca without Andres because right now we’re enjoying having him with us,” he added.