Iniesta tells suitors ‘all possibilities are open’
Barcelona star Andres Iniesta insists that no decision on his future has been made, and that “all possibilities are open” after reports linked the 33-year-old with moves to China, Japan and Australia.
Iniesta has confirmed his plans to leave Barcelona at the end of the season after 22 years with the club, and speculation has hit fever pitch in recent days as teams across the world jockey for his signature. The 33-year-old says that the only thing he is focusing on is his final few games in a Barcelona shirt.
“I said that I would not go to Europe and apart from that all possibilities are open,” Iniesta told beIN Sports after Barcelona defeated Villarreal 5-1 on Wednesday night. They said I’m not going to China, now they say Japan is an option and I’ve also heard Australia.
“You will know when I tell you. There are things to seal, little details and I will try and choose the best option. I try to enjoy each minute as there is not long to go and to be on the pitch is what I want. I have a week-and-a-half left to enjoy and when the season ends my mind will be on the national team and my future.”
Iniesta’s words, however, did not dampen the enthusiasm in Australia, with Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop confirming that a number of A-League clubs have expressed interest in signing the World Cup winner. Hours after J-League side Vissel Kobe backed away from reports that a deal worth €25 million a season had been agreed with the Barcelona legend, Gallop made it clear the A-League means business.
“I won’t name who but I do understand that A-League clubs have expressed interest, and that’s a start,” Gallop said on Thursday.
“He’ll have offers from around the globe but the A-League offers a great competition to play in and the Australian lifestyle, and we saw with [Alessandro] Del Piero and others that that is an attraction. It would require a significant investment, primarily from one of our clubs, but we’ve got some funds available as well and if we can contribute — it would be a contribution, not the bulk of what he could earn — then we think it’s money well spent.”
Unlike Gallop, Vissel Kobe’s head of player development Atsuhiro Miura moved to quash speculation linking his club to Iniesta.
“I am surprised at the amount of money reported,” Miura said, according to the Japan Times. Honestly, that doesn’t strike me as being realistic. Such talks have definitely not taken place. If he actually were to come, he would be the best player. But it’s not realistic.”