I Would Never Compete Against Barcelona

Andres Iniesta has still not decided whether he will accept Barcelona’s offer of a new contract but said if he does one day leave it will not be for another European team.

Iniesta’s deal expires next summer and the Barca captain has said repeatedly during the last few months that he’s unsure whether he will extend his career at Camp Nou.

But, whatever happens between now and the end of next season, the Spain international says he will never play against Barca.

“If I don’t retire at Barcelona, I would never compete against them.” he said.

“My feelings wouldn’t allow me to play against them. But, they’re just thoughts … I don’t have a reason not to renew with Barca.”

Now 33, Iniesta has spent over 20 years of his life with Barcelona but the last campaign has been one of the most difficult.

Due to injuries and Luis Enrique’s desire to keep him fresh for the bigger games, he started just 13 league games and that’s one of the factors which is making him consider his long-term future.

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“I have a year left on my contract and then we will see,” he added. “I’ve not said I won’t renew, but I have to evaluate things.

“It’s not to do with money, but feelings. A series of personal and sporting factors have come together and I have to assess a lot of things to take an honest decision.

“It’s always been my aim to retire here and there’s no reason for that to change. I’m relaxed, I want to keep playing well and winning titles.

“If injuries respect me I still see myself competing at the top level. We will see …”

Whether he does decide to renew his contract with the Blaugrana or not is likely to depend on how his relationship develops with new Barca coach Ernesto Valverde.

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The former Athletic Bilbao manager was confirmed as Luis Enrique’s successor on Monday and will be formally presented on Thursday.

“Valverde is a manager I like a lot,” Iniesta said. “He’s done a great job at all the clubs he’s worked at and I think at Barca he can grow even more.

“I am sure that with him we will be fighting for everything and I wish him a lot of luck in the job.”