Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that he could remain at the club for the next two years.
While the Spaniard, currently with the national team over the international break, expects to move on at some point, he insists it would be somewhere that he is not in competition with the La Liga outfit.
“I would not go anywhere to compete against my club, all scenarios that are not competing against Barcelona are possible,” he said in an interview with El Larguero on the radio station Cadena Ser.
“Many things are going around in my head, some more strongly than others.”
The 33-year-old is determined to take his time with his decision though and won’t be rushed into anything.
“There are a few weeks left where the decision to continue or not is there to be made.
“It’s one of the most important decisions of my career and I understand that I am at an age where things change and other doors open that are very exciting in many ways.
“It will not be a matter of love, it will be about me feeling what I think I am able to contribute.
“Fitness permitting, I can see myself in the Barcelona XI for the next two years”
Iniesta realises that he will have to make a timely decision and not leave it for the last minute.
“If I leave, it will be because I can’t give 100 per cent as a player and as a person to my club,” he continued.
“It will be a difficult decision regardless, but I’m very calm about it and I’m enjoying this year very much.”
The midfielder has also suggested that the 2018 World Cup in Russia will probably be his last.
“The World Cup will possibly be my last appearance for the national team,” he noted. “I don’t want to be around, just because of who I was.”
Speaking in an interview with TyC Sports, the Frenchman admitted that the Barcelona superstar’s name is synonymous with football – and that in the diminutive Argentinian’s case, size doesn’t matter.
“Messi and football are two things that go together. I enjoy watching at him, he does things that nobody does.
“He has a stature that nobody has, something special for him, everything is special. He’s a player who has football inside him, who feels it, it’s incredible.”
The 25-year-old also said that Messi is not the only player he has tried to impersonate or take inspiration from.
“When I was little I looked at [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi. I had videos of [Diego] Maradona, Pele, Kaka, of many players,” he explained.
“I wanted to have all the virtues that those players had.
“Now, I look more at players like [Andres] Iniesta, Yaya Toure, also [Kevin] De Bruyne, who is young, [Luka] Modric, who is a very strong midfielder.”
Pogba hablando de Messi. Amén. pic.twitter.com/CIWozCrij4
— Iniestazo (@Don_Iniestazo) March 20, 2018
Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy has produced countless world-class talents over the last decade but the line of succession to the first team from the facility has dried up in recent years.
Indeed, the situation has regressed ever since the peak of 2012 when in a 4-0 win over Levante the Blaugrana fielded an entire XI of academy players for an hour.
With Sergio Busquets turning 30 this year, Sergi Roberto will remain as the only La Masia product in the first-team fold in their 20s.
However, Pique rejects the opinion a golden era for the academy is over.
“It’s not correct, it’s not correct at all. You cannot control talent,” he told Fortune in an exclusive interview.
“You never know. Maybe in one year there appears three new Messis or three new Xavis or three new Piques. And then you have five or six years that you don’t have the luck to bring any new guys from La Masia.
“La Masia is one of the main pillars of the club. And we have to invest very highly in that. There is a lot of money around football and there are more people investing millions and millions.
“And if we want to compete the best way is to try invest in our home, in La Masia where we know we have results in the last 10 years.
“It is a big resource for the club. Me as a representative of La Masia I can say that it was a great experience for me as a young guy.”