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Midfield Maestro Andres Iniesta To Leave Barcelona
30 April 2018, 01:33 | Stacy Ballard
Real Madrid defender Ramos says if Iniesta was called'Andresinho he would have won twice
But more than any player at the Camp Nou in the last 15 years, Iniesta provided the human element that made him exemplify Barcelona's motto of being "more than a club". He lifted eight Spanish Leagues, six Copas del Rey, four Leagues of Champions and three Club World Cups.
"It's hard for me and for anyone who likes football".
"It's a decision that I've pondered myself, and discussed with the family", said the player with tears in his eyes.
Last year, Iniesta became the first player to sign a lifetime contract with Barcelona, a deal that allowed him to keep playing for the club as long as he remained fit.
Iniesta had been linked with a move to Chongqing in 2017, after he had visited the city in the summer, but it was shot down in an opinion piece published in the Chongqing Morning Post that declared the World Cup victor was "not good enough".
Born in the village of Fuentealbilla, between Madrid and Valencia, where a bronze statue commemorates him, Iniesta was scouted by Barcelona as a 12-year-old.
However, despite rumors that he has agreed to move to the Chinese Super League, Iniesta didn't reveal his next destination, but said it will be a place outside Europe.
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Speaking on what his future hold, Iniesta stated: "We'll know that when the season ends".
The only trophy that escaped Iniesta's grasp was the Ballon d'Or award, given to the best player in the world each season.
Iniesta made his first team debut in 2002 at the age of 18 after coming through La Masia, Barcelona's youth academy.
"I said I would never play against Barca so it's not going to be in Europe".
Andres Iniesta's decision to part ways with Barcelona leaves a massive hole at the legendary club and in the hearts of football lovers everywhere.
At his peak, Iniesta was a symbol of Spanish possession-based football and to this day, many maintain he should have won the Ballon D´Or in 2010, when he finished second to Lionel Messi.
Spain greats Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Fernando Torres also expressed their admiration for Iniesta, while Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino - the former coach of Barcelona's city rivals Espanyol - added: "We were enemies for a while".
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