I want to retire at Barca – Iniesta

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Barcelona’s midfielder Andres Iniesta /
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO

Andres Iniesta has expressed his desire to retire at Barcelona as the club prepare to offer him a new deal in the New Year.

Iniesta’s current contract is due to expire in 2018, but reports in Catalan newspaper Diario Sport on Wednesday named him as one of the five figures Barca are keen to renew in 2017.

Lionel Messi, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic and coach Luis Enrique are the other four.

And club captain Iniesta, who has made over 600 appearances for Barcelona’s first team since joining the club as a 12-year-old in 1996, is keen to commit his future to the Blaugrana.

“Let’s hope so!” he told official club media when asked if he will retire at Camp Nou. “That’s my hope and has been for a long time.

“When you start and everything is new, you never know what is going to happen but as things develop and become more important, you always have the hope of retiring here. I had the goal of being a success at Barca when I arrived and until I did that I was not satisfied.

“There were difficult moments when I was happy to play 10 minutes here rather than more time in another team and that has allowed me to achieve other things.”

While former teammate Xavi Hernandez has spoken about his desire to move into management, Iniesta has previously suggested he can’t envisage himself following that path.

However, the 32-year-old has parked all thoughts on his long-term future to focus on his playing career. The only thing he’s certain of is that he wants to remain linked to Barcelona when he does eventually hang up his boots.

“I don’t think about it,” Iniesta added, when asked what will come after retirement. “Perhaps there are days when something occurs to you, other days something else. But at the moment I am not thinking about what I will do.”

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