Barcelona Transfer News: Marc-Andre ter Stegen Addresses Andres Iniesta Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2018

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 18:  Andres Iniesta of Barcelona in ction during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou on March 18, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has said the entire squad hopes Andres Iniesta does not leave for China, but he'll have their support no matter what he decides.

Rumours Iniesta could be on his way to China have intensified of late, and as reported by football writer Samuel Marsden, the player himself has clarified he'll make a decision shortly:

Ter Stegen had his say in the matter, emphasising it's a decision Iniesta has to make himself, via Goal:

"It's a personal decision and everyone hopes he stays at Barca because he's a great person.

"We know that we have to keep going as a team until the end of the season and we need him right now and for many more years.

"We are thinking about the present and he'll make the decision. I hope he stays but the only person that knows what to do is him.

"We know he's a great person who knows he is very important for the club and we'll try everything to convince him to stay.

"We're going to support him whatever he does. We love him as a captain."

Per the report, the 33-year-old signed a "lifetime" deal with Barcelona, but his future is far from clear.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 18: Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona controls the ball under pressure from Unai Nunez and Oscar De Marcos of Athletic Club during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Club at Camp Nou on March 18, 2018 in Barcelona, Spai
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Iniesta has been a key performer for the Blaugrana since 2004, and despite his advanced age, he remains as influential as ever. The academy graduate played in both UEFA Champions League matches this season against Chelsea, recording an assist in west London.

In La Liga, he has maintained his spot in the team despite the January arrival of Philippe Coutinho, whom many thought would push him to the bench.

While Iniesta is slowly moving towards the end of his impressive career, he has shown few signs of slowing down. The Catalans are still happy to have him around, and any club that invests in the veteran will likely be rewarded with several seasons of top-quality performance.

Per Coral, he also has a lengthy track record of success:

Outlets all over the world have published reports about his decision just about every day since he imposed the deadline, likely in an effort to be the first to get it right. Iniesta put a date on his decision for a reason, however, and it will be some time before anything becomes official.

Financially, a move to China would make sense at this stage of his career, as his earning potential will go down with every passing year. Interest will remain thanks to his name and fame, but the sooner he moves, the longer he can enjoy what will likely be his last major payday.

Former team-mate Xavi made his move to Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015 in similar circumstances after a treble-winning season with Barcelona.

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