Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta has revealed he will make the final decision on his next destination ‘”next week” in what he describes as his “most important decision” since leaving his hometown of Fuentealbilla as a child.
After 22 years with Barcelona, the 34-year-old decided to call time on his career with the La Liga champions at season’s end and although he is still unsure of where he will play his football next season, it is a matter of fact that he will play his final match at Camp Nou on Sunday.
Iniesta is adamant, however, that he will never come up against Barcelona and as a result is weighing up offers from China and Japan.
In an interview with Onda Cero, via Marca, Iniesta revealed: “I am leaving because I feel I have to. I understand that it would be tough to give what I have until now on a physical and mental level.
“I leave feeling like I’ve been important and useful and that I’ve had a great season, winning titles. I wouldn’t like to experience any uncomfortable situation at this club.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, time is now against me. This club demands a lot, even more than people think. I wish it could last forever and that I could say I’ll leave next year, but that’s a lie.
“We signed the lifetime contract because the club knew I would not stay a second longer if I didn’t feel 200 percent.
“I have completed my dreams, or, in fact, I’ve surpassed them. There is no better way to finish up. I have given my body and soul to this club and I don’t have any objective left to complete.
“After the decision to come here from Fuentealbilla, the decision that I have now is the most important one [of my career]. There are two options, China or Japan, and each one has its pros. You weight up everything. I will do whatever I feel is the best.
“The financial aspect is quite important, but the project and future aspects are important too. That’s what will my matter when it comes to making my decision. I hope that I can communicate my decision next week.
“There is one option which I’m leaning towards more than the other. I want to announce this before the World Cup. I want to keep enjoying my football,” he added.
When asked if he had ever considered joining former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City or fancied a return to Barcelona in a coaching capacity, he added: “Yes, Pep Guardiola has sent me messages, but reports came out that I did not understand.
“I will not compete against Barcelona. My period in elite football ends with Barcelona.
“[But] I would love to keep forming part of this club. The itch to move into coaching is starting to hit me.
“I will obtain a coaching badge, but I still have time left to play right now. I don’t know how everything will be in seven years or in 10.”