Andres Iniesta has dropped the most promising hint yet that he is set to extend his 21-year stay at Barcelona, amid fears the veteran would not sign a contract extension on the deal that's poised to expire next summer.
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana) provided quotes from Iniesta after his side defeated Sporting CP 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Wednesday. When quizzed on his future at the club, he said: "I think the good news will arrive soon."
This comes after Iniesta spoke on Spanish radio station Onda Cero (h/t Daily Mail's Oliver Todd) in May and hinted he could leave the Blaugrana after more than two decades: "I need to make an honest decision and one that is best for everyone."
Football Espana nodded to recent suggestions Serie A titans Juventus are interested in recruiting Iniesta, 33, who has lit up Spain's top flight for more than 15 years:
Lionel Messi equals @Carles5puyol's official appearance total for Barcelona: 767 - Xavi 638 - Iniesta 593 - Puyol & MESSI https://t.co/qIJfg1Esxl2017-9-27 21:11:52
Even in his advanced years, Iniesta would be a welcome face at the Camp Nou for more years to come, offering a rare composure and quality of passing that any club would cherish for as long as possible.
It wouldn't be a surprise if the Spain international chose to prolong one of the most successful club careers in recent memory, including four Champions League titles and eight La Liga crowns, with more plaudits potentially on the way, per Sky Sports Statto:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Andres Iniesta is the 5th player to start 100+ CL games for Barcelona after Xavi (126), Puyol (109), Messi (108) & Valdes (106) #CL https://t.co/tcAS7iYxdq2017-9-27 18:05:18
Ernesto Valverde has made a fine start to life at the Barca helm and sees his men sit atop both La Liga's standings and their Champions League group, which may have helped convince Iniesta to continue on in Catalonia.
Barcelona are wary of their star's age, however, and Goal's Melissa Reddy provided context from German newspaper Spiegel, which reported on Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho's near move to the Camp Nou over the summer:
Melissa Reddy @MelissaReddy_
SPIEGEL: Coutinho's salary at #FCB 'would've been ranked between that of Luis Suárez and Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta'2017-9-23 09:26:00
Coutinho was previously mooted as a potential successor to Iniesta, and Barca's need to keep their playmaker around will remain as long as they continue their search for an adequate replacement.
Nothing is concrete yet, it should be noted, but Iniesta's latest comments point toward this not being his last season in Blaugrana colours.