Barcelona has tied down captain Andres Iniesta for the rest of his career as the club announced on Friday the 33-year-old midfielder has agreed to the first “lifetime contract” in Barca’s history.
Barcelona president Joseph Maria Bartomeu said “It is a way of rewarding an exceptional player,”
Iniesta insisted, though, that he has not planned any future role with the club beyond his playing career.
“The lifetime title doesn’t mean that I will remain here just for the sake of it. It isn’t my way of doing things,” Iniesta said.
When I don’t have the same force or importance I have always had things can always change.
Today I am hugely grateful for the confidence the club has shown in me.”
Along with five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Iniesta is Barca’s most decorated player of all-time having won 30 trophies at club level, including eight La Liga and four Champions League titles.
Iniesta has also made the second highest number of appearances in a Barca shirt behind Xavi Hernandez with 639 since his debut 15 years ago.
“There is no other player in the club like him. He will be a reference for future generations,” added Bartomeu.
I always say to the kids in the academy, to fixate on him as a player and a person.”
Born in the central Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha before joining Barca at the age of 12, Iniesta is a beloved figure across Spain as he scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.