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Andres Iniesta: Barcelona captain signs lifetime contract

Andres Iniesta: Barcelona captain signs lifetime contract

The Barcelona captain is now second on the all-time appearance list for the club, trailing only former midfield partner Xavi.

The club president explained Iniesta started "an era of winning in 2003 and until now has offered balance in the side, and while many players have changed, he always adds the balance".

"The midfielder joined the club in September 1996, at the age of 12".

Iniesta's Barca and Spain team-mate Gerard Pique has been a controversial figure of late, with the defender attracting jeers from supporters at a recent global training session for his support of the Catalan independence referendum.

But his footballing progress was undeniable and Pep Guardiola, who would eventually become the manager to lead Iniesta to most success, would later tell Xavi: "you're going to retire me".

A special FC Barcelona jersey signed by midfielder Andres Iniesta after he signed his lifetime contract.

Arsenal's contract rebel Mesut Ozil has entered the previous year on his contract at Arsenal and seems to be showing no interest in signing a new deal with the Gunners.

The 33-year-old Iniesta has played 639 matches for the club since making his debut with the first team in October 2002.

Iniesta signed the new contract at the team's Camp Nou Stadium and was given a team shirt with the words "Iniesta forever".

"This is the club where I grew up and evolved and I feel privileged to be its captain".

Along with five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Iniesta is Barca's most decorated player having won 30 trophies at club level, including eight Primera Liga titles and four Uefa Champions Leagues. "It's true that time is against me and I am closer to hanging up my boots, but one thing I have clear is that I will be involved in football, I don't know how, but I will be related to football".

How long his lifetime contract will last is a debate for further down the line.

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