Andres Iniesta to leave Barcelona after 22 years

Pep Guardiola has thanked Andres Iniesta for helping him understand the game better after the Barcelona midfielder announced he is leaving at the end of the season.

Andres Iniesta has announced he will be leaving Barcelona this summer after 22 years at the club.

The 33-year-old's announcement came during a press conference at Barcelona's training ground on Friday, bringing an end to a glittering career at the Nou Camp.

The midfielder was in tears during the announcement, which was attended by his Barcelona team-mates.

 during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on March 14, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
Image: Iniesta is on the verge of winning his ninth La Liga title with Barcelona

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Iniesta, a World Cup winner with Spain, won eight La Liga titles, with a ninth set to be secured in the coming weeks, alongside four Champions League wins and six Copa del Rey crowns.

Iniesta is expected to move to Chinese Super League club Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, with their president Gong Daxing recently admitting they are in negotiations with the Barcelona midfielder.

Terry Gibson takes a look at Iniesta's masterclass for Barcelona against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final

"This is my last season here," he said on Friday. "I have thought my decision through for a long time. For me, Barca is the best club in the world - this club has given me everything.

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"I would like to thank my team-mates and everyone who accompanied me every day, they made me be better. It's been a dream come true, lots of titles, important moments throughout my career. I am very happy to have played for this club. I am proud."

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Guillem Balague pays tribute to Iniesta as the midfielder nears the end of his Barcelona career

Regarding his future, Iniesta said: "There are still things to work out, different things. I said I would never play against Barca, so it's not going to be in Europe. We will know at the end of the season.

"I'm almost 34, I've left everything out on the field, I've given everything to the club, and if I couldn't give everything up to now, I wouldn't be happy. I want to be happy, like I have been here."

Iniesta joined Barcelona's youth academy when he was 12. He went on to become one of the best players in its history, helping the team win 31 titles, a club record he shares with Lionel Messi.

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