Legendary Barcelona player announced his retirement

But beyond the numbers, Iniesta became one of the most loyal representatives of a style that dazzled world football with Josep Guardiola as coach (2008-2012) and with Xavi Hernández and Lionel Messi as its main partners in the field.

Iniesta has won three major trophies with Spain - two European Championships and a World Cup - and is set to represent Spain in the World Cup in Russian Federation this year.

In a press conference attended by members of the first team and the club's board on Friday, Iniesta said he wanted to finish at Barca "feeling useful, feeling important and still winning titles".

Iniesta is expected to move to Chinese Super League club Chongqing Dangdai Lifan, with their president Gong Daxing recently admitting they are in negotiations with the Barcelona midfielder.

"It's a decision I have given a lot of time and thought to on a personal level and with the family", he continued.

"I said I was never going to play against Barcelona, so it will not be in Europe". "I don't know him well but I only have good words for him and I wish him all the best as a player and as a person".

Once Iniesta plays his remaining five matches with Barcelona, Iniesta will head to Russian Federation for this summer's World Cup in what could be the end of his glorious career with Spain. "I know what the responsibility means to be captain at this club".

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Iniesta admitted to a hard beginning in Barcelona, as he missed his home close to Albacete in central Spain, and later confessed to "crying rivers" because he missed his parents.

As an individual Iniesta is the only player to have ever been named man-of-the-match in the final game of the European Championship, the World Cup and the Champions League.

Barcelona will secure the Liga title this weekend with a draw at Deportivo La Coruna. "There are things to talk about, things to finalise", he said.

However, he progressed through the Barca youth team before making his first team debut as an 18-year-old in 2002.

France Football apologised earlier this week for never awarding Iniesta the Ballon d'Or, but he says individual glory was never what he aspired to.

"I would like to thank my teammates and everyone who accompanied me every day, they made me be better", said an emotional Iniesta.

"The people believe the manager had the players, but he helped me to understand the game better - just watching him, what he does on the football pitch".

  • Tabitha Byrd