Friday will be a very special day for Andres Iniesta, as he formally bids goodbye to Barcelona. The player will announce he is leaving at the end of the season at 13.30 CET.
He will do so after 22 years at the club, 16 of them in the first team, and will bring an end to an extraordinary career that has earned him all possible titles at his club. Only the Ballon d'Or is missing and even France Football apologised this week for not awarding him one.
Iniesta will finish the season at Barcelona and will have time to win one more league title, likely to be confirmed on Sunday at the Estadio Riazor. Then he will play the World Cup in Russia, which will also be his last games for the Spanish national team.
After that, he will pack his bags to start a new adventure in Chinese football. However, the player has not yet definitively closed the contract with his new club that will be, except for a monumental surprise, Chingqing.
There are several issues that remain to be resolved, and right up until Thursday, the president of Chingqing had not given his final approval - although he is expected to do so shortly, after months of negotiation.
Iniesta currently receives 10 million net at Barcelona and he can double that in China. There is no other club willing to approach that amount, and not just because of the economic issue.
United States and England
Both in England and in the United States, the physical state of the player is of concern. There had been much talk that Iniesta may have offers from either country, but his fate does not seem to be in these places.
According to the renewal agreement he reached with Barcelona last year, the club would help facilitate the departure of their captain whenever he wished, as long as it was not to a country where there are competitions in which Barcelona also participates. That rules out Premier League clubs because of the Champions League.
Therefore, in the end, there will be an agreement with the Asian country to which we must add the important commitment for the wineries that are owned by the player.
A succulent contract that includes the sale and distribution of Manchego wines in a market of more than 1.300 million people. Iniesta wants to announce his departure from Barcelona with the contract closed in China, but this hadn't happened by late on Thursday. His idea is to tell the staff and his teammates before the training session scheduled at 11.00 CET. Then there will be a press conference to confirm all details.
On Monday, it's expected that Barcelona will have a parade to celebrate another league title, if they win at Riazor. Iniesta will beat the head of the celebrations.
His final goodbye will be against Real Sociedad. The player will bid farewell to the supporters in what will be his last game for the club.
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