Retiring At Barcelona Is My Dream – Iniesta Opens Up
The midfielder has spent more than 20 years at the club and hopes to see out the rest of his career there and then some, though he insists his playing days are not over yet.
Andres Iniesta says it is his dream to end his playing career at Barcelona and hopes to stay connected to the club after he retires.
The 32-year-old has been part of the Spanish club for over 20 years, joining the youth academy, La Masia, as a youngster before making his first-team debut in October 2002 at 18 years old.
Iniesta has gone on to enjoy an iconic career in the Blaugrana jersey as well as with the Spain national team. The midfielder has won eight league titles, four Copa del Reys, four Champions League crowns and the Club World Cup three times. He has been integral to Spain’s golden generation too, scoring the winning goal in extra-time in the 2010 World Cup final and enjoying success in two Euros 2008 and 2012.
Knee problems have hindered Iniesta to just 13 appearances in all competitions for Barca this term, but he remains a regular starter when fit and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
His current contract runs out in June 2018, but Barcelona are expected to offer him to a new deal in the near future.
And Iniesta is not preparing to leave anytime soon, as he hopes to end his career where he started it – at Camp Nou.
“Let’s hope so!” he told the club’s official website when asked if he will retire in Catalunya. “That’s my dream 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.
“I don’t think about life after retirement, but I know that one way or another I will continue to be linked to football.
“Of course [I want to stay linked to Barca], but the future will decide. I am not in position to say I want to be one thing or another at the moment, but I would like to remain at Barca, let’s hope! However, at the moment that is something in the distance.
While the star midfielder may have cemented his place in the hearts of the fans of Barcelona, Spain and the footballing world, his early years as a player were much darker. He has often talked about the trauma of his first night in La Masia, and says it was tough to be separated from his family and home in the small village of Fuentealbilla.
“Personally, it was very hard to separate myself from my family at such a young age, considering the life I had in my town, near all my loved ones,” he admits.
“Having to leave them was very difficult and was one of the worst days I have experienced, but the enrichment you get by coming here is unmatched.”