Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta says he will announce his future plans in the coming week after receiving a offer to play in China.
Iniesta was the centre of attention as Barcelona won the Copa del Rey final in Madrid on Saturday, scoring his side’s fourth goal in a 5-0 rout of Sevilla.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed after the game that Iniesta has received an offer from a Chinese Super League club, with multiple reports identifying the interested team as Chongqing Lifan.
Fans from both clubs stood, applauded and sang for Iniesta when he was substituted late in the game, and the 33-year-old said the time has nearly arrived to make his decision public.
“This week I will make the decision public,” Iniesta said after the game, according to Mundo Deportivo. “There are many emotions, many feelings, many years — I’m happy to be able to give this image and the title. Today the people deserved this.
“I am happy personally and at a collective level. There are very strong emotions, the affection and respect that people have for me is something that I am very much grateful for. As I said, I will try to add this cup to the league.
“This week I will speak about the decision I make, as a person and as an athlete. The affection the people have shown me is priceless.”
Iniesta, who turns 34 in May, signed a contract for life earlier this season at Camp Nou but the terms of the deal allow him to leave the club at the end of each campaign if he feels it’s time for a new challenge.
Bartomeu said after the game: “I know that Iniesta has an offer, but Barca is the club of his life and he has a lifetime contract. “We have the best in the world who is [Lionel] Messi, but Iniesta marks a time in the history of Barca and football.”
Earlier on Saturday, China’s Xinhua news agency quoted the chairman of one of Chongqing Lifan’s sponsor as saying he was “positive on introducing Iniesta.”