END OF AN ERA: Iniesta confirms Barca exit

Andres Iniesta has never won the Ballon d'Or but Sergio Ramos believes he deserved

Andres Iniesta has never won the Ballon d'Or but Sergio Ramos believes he deserved

For a club which prides itself on producing the world's top playmakers and passers, there has been no one quite like Iniesta. What about his impudent dink against Real Madrid in the 2011 Supercopa Espana, or his 16 assists in La Liga over the course of the 2012/13 season, or his show-stopping performance in his last ever Copa del Rey final last week?

"It's a decision I have given a lot of time and thought to on a personal level and with the family", he began, as he fought the tears. If I couldn't contribute everything I was capable, then it was time to say goodbye. "He helped me understand the game better, just watching him and what he does on the football pitch".

'My stage ends this year, ' said Iniesta, in a press conference in which he appeared before the entire staff, manager and coaching staff of Barça.

"I've always said that Leo is a fundamental part of this team and its bid to win trophies and so for me as a teammate and a player, to have him by my side has been unique and magic". He's also enjoyed enormous success with the Spanish national team - famously scoring the winning foal in the 2010 World Cup final.

Andres Iniesta has announced he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season. "I've wanted to represent this club in the best possible way and I hope I have achieved it".

With his unique blend of effortless ability on the ball and an nearly unrivalled eye for a pass, Iniesta has established himself as one of the greatest players in Europe over the last 15 years.

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While he has been linked with a move to Manchester City, it seems likely that Iniesta will make a switch to the Chinese Super League.

Iniesta has been at Barcelona since coming through the club's La Masia academy as a schoolboy, going on to win eight La Liga titles, with another on the way, four Champions Leagues and 13 domestic trophies.

Despite all of that, Iniesta has never stolen the limelight at Barca.

Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed that the club is keen on extending defender Samuel Umtiti's contract but not at any cost. "I've admired you from afar and after I get closer I fell even more for your football and much more for the person you are off the field".

This year, Iniesta will play for Spain at the World Cup in Russian Federation.

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