Andres Iniesta agrees lifetime contract at Barcelona following months of speculation

  • Spanish legend will continue at the Nou Camp for the rest of his career.

  • Catalans will now be hoping Lionel Messi follows in Iniesta's footsteps in the near future.

Iniesta's previous contract was due to expire at the end of the season.Getty

Andres Iniesta has put an end to the speculation about his future by putting pen to paper on a lifetime contract at Barcelona.

The club captain was recruited by Barcelona from Albacete at the age of 12 in September 1996 after catching the eye of club scouts.

The Spanish maestro progressed through the club's various youth ranks until he was handed his first-team debut during a Champions League match against Bruges on 29 October 2002.

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The 33-year-old midfielder has since become one of the biggest legends in the history of the club, helping them to win 30 trophies, including eight La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

However, Iniesta's future at the club has been under scrutiny after his playing time was limited during Luis Enrique's last season at the Nou Camp.

His contract at the club was set to expire at the end of the season and there have been suggestions that he was considering moving to another league or even hanging his boots.

Xavi Hernandez made a similar decision in the summer of 2015 when he left the Nou Camp to continue his career in Qatari club al-Sadd SC.

Iniesta has recovered a leading role in Barcelona's midfield under new manager Ernesto Valverde in the opening part of the season.

However, there has been confusion over his future in recent weeks with the club captain at one stage ready to become a free-agent at the end of the campaign.

Iniesta added more uncertainty to the saga last month after revealing that he was yet to make a decision – only days after Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had claimed that the club had reached an agreement in principle for the player to commit his long-term future to the Nou Camp.

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But last week, Iniesta suggested that he had finally decided to sign a new deal at Barcelona after revealing that "soon" there was going to be "good news" regarding his future at the Nou Camp.

Now the club have confirmed that good news with Iniesta signing a lifetime contract to continue at Barcelona for the rest of his career.

"Andres Iniesta signed a lifetime contract with FC Barcelona on Friday, in a deal that will keep him at the club for the rest of his career. The signing will take place at Camp Nou at 12:30pm CET," the club confirmed through an official statement on Friday 6 October.

"Following the signing, around 1.00pm local time, FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu and Iniesta will address the media in the Camp Nou press room.

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"The Spanish midfielder, who has made 639 appearances for Barça, ranks second on the all-time games played list at the Club. He has scored 55 goals for the first team, for which he debuted on October 29th, 2002. Since 2015 Iniesta has been the team's first captain, and is one of the Club's most distinguished symbols. The 33-year-old midfielder joined the Club in September 1996, at the age of 12. Iniesta and Leo Messi share the record for the most titles in Barça history, with 30."

Barcelona will now be hoping for Lionel Messi follow in Iniesta's footsteps in the near future with the Argentine's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

On 5 July the Catalans announced an agreement for their number 10 to remain at the Nou Camp until 2021 but the player is yet to put pen to paper on the deal.

Bartomeu has reiterated in recent times that Messi's father had already signed a contract with an stunning release clause worth €300m (£268.9m, $351m).

However, the uncertainty continues with Bartomeu recently claiming that he hopes Messi will sign the new deal before the end of the year.

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