Iniesta leaves Barcelona, says he will never play against club
Apr 29 2018 by Dustin Murphy
"You are a phenomenon, on and off the pitch".
"It was an incredible period for me, first as his team-mate and then as his manager".
"It's a decision I have given a lot of time and thought to on a personal level and with the family", he continued.
Iniesta has made 669 appearances for Barcelona over 16 seasons, winning 31 trophies, which will soon be 32 if Barcelona clinch La Liga 2017-18 at Deportivo on Sunday.
The legendary title-winning icon of the national Spanish team and the Catalonian super club burst into tears during the announcement which was attended by his teammates. His was also the goal that made Spain the champion of the planet for the first and only time.
Iniesta won his 125th cap for Spain in last month's 6-1 friendly victory against Argentina. "I've wanted to represent this club in the best possible way and I hope I have achieved it". "Barcelona remain the best club in the world - a club that gave me everything", Iniesta is quoted by the Spanish newspaper "AS".
"They are the ones who make me better, as well as all the fans who have given me their love, my parents, my sister..."
But the arrival of Coutinho in January raised questions over how long the 33-year-old had left at the Nou Camp.
He's won the UEFA Champions League four times, La Liga nine times (including this year), and six Copas del Rey. "The magic I've been through as a player is enough for me, that's what I have gained happiness from", he added. He has always been the silent man of Barca's attack in comparison to Messi, not to mention the rotating cast of superstars who have come and gone in front of him.
"It's been magic, a one-off - that's the only way I can describe it". It's a hard day for me.
Iniesta revealed in March he had an offer to move to China, with Chongqing Dangdai Lifan the club expected to win the race for his signature.
Since the news broke out, it has triggered an avalanche of tributes and heartfelt messages on various social media platforms.
9 - While never a Ballon d'Or victor, Iniesta has been included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI on nine occasions - only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have moreappearances (11). Not only because he is a great player but because he is an excellent human being.